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March 26 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall

Information about COVID-19 caregiving and resources

Listen to the March 26 Tele-Town Hall

Coronavirus: Protecting and Caring for Loved Ones

Experts addressed caring for family, friends and neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic. They answered your questions related to creating a care plan, coordinating backup care, staying connected to isolated loved ones, and accessing local resources for additional support.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Tele-Town Hall March 26th

Bill Walsh:  Hello, I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. We have leading experts with us to discuss how you can stay healthy and informed, and we'll address your questions, live. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization. Has been working to promote the health and wellbeing of older Americans for more than 60 years..

In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus. Today, we'll ask experts how to support loved ones who need care, how to access local resources and how to cope with stress and anxiety held by you, your family, friends and neighbors.

If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, press star 3 on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member, who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live.

So to ask you a question, please press star 3. But before we begin our conversation, we need to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us, what is your greatest concern related to caring for friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic.

Press 1 on your telephone keypad if your greatest concern is ensuring those I care for are safe. Press 2, if your greatest concern is dealing with an increased financial burden. Press 3 if your greatest concern is straining personal relationships. And press 4 if your greatest concern is having adequate food, medications and supplies.

So what is your greatest concern related to care — caring for friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic? Press 1 for ensuring those you care for are safe, 2 for dealing with an increased financial burden, 3 for straining personal relationships, and 4 for having adequate food, medications and supplies.

Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We are talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press star 3. 

Joining us today is a distinguished lineup. Doctor Ian Williams is branch chief of the outbreak response and prevention branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. Lance Robertson, the assistant secretary for aging and administrator of the Administration for Community Living. and Dr. Donna Benton, director of the University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center.

AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP and providing information and advocacy related to the Coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also learn more about the coronavirus and older adults through the Administration for Community Living at acl.gov/covid-19. And to find local resources, you can visit eldercare.acl.gov/. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording on AARP.org/coronavirus 24 hours after the event.

Now let's get to our first guest. We're joined today by Ian Williams, Ph.D., branch chief of the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch at the CDC. Dr. Williams has been at the CDC since 1994 and has been involved in a number of outbreak investigations. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Williams.

Ian Williams:  Thank you, and great to be here. 

Bill Walsh:  All right, well, let's jump right in. We're in a rapidly changing environment. can you tell our listeners, about the latest information on the spread of the pandemic and what more each of them can do to stay safe?

Ian Williams:  Yes. Thank you. Thank you for the invitation to talk to you today. This is a rapidly evolving situation and I understand it's a difficult time for all of us, and some of the news you may have been seeing is quite alarming. It's important to know that there are steps that you and your family you can take to protect your health and protect the health of your family, your friends and your community.

So we're going to be talking about some of those steps today. So in the United States, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and New York City have reported more than 60,000 cases, and sadly more than a thousand deaths. Worldwide there've been more than 400,000 cases reported. And sadly, we expect more cases to occur and be reported.

I want to be clear that this increase is not just a result of increased testing. As we've been saying for weeks, we expect more and more cases to continue to occur. Many communities in the United States have already started taking aggressive action in their community to help lessen the impact of this epidemic occurring in the United States and around the world.

I want to emphasize that different communities are taking different actions at different places to do what we call flatten the curve. What I mean by that, this is an epidemiologic expression that may not be familiar to people even a few weeks ago, but really it's the idea of learning how to lessen the impact on the community by people taking action to protect themselves, their families and their friends.

So what is happening across the country, people in schools and businesses are adjusting to this new reality where we're focused on really reducing the impact the virus will have on us collectively.

So, a couple of things to say about this virus, and what we know about it and what we can do to help protect ourselves. This new virus spread mainly through respiratory secretions. These are small droplets that you produce when you cough or sneeze that can land on another person or other surfaces.

Because of this and the fact that there is no vaccine or approved treatments yet for this disease, community interventions to promote social distancing are essential to slow the spread of this new virus. In addition, evidence from most countries show that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.

Recent data from the CDC and around the world show that people over 65 years of age and especially those older than 85 years of age may be at higher risk, as well as people who have underlying medical conditions that may suppress their immune system.

Therefore, it's very important to follow guidance that is being putting out by your local and state health department officials and government officials on social distancing. Social different is this idea of making sure that we are slowing the spread of the virus to protect yourself, the health care system and people who are at higher risk of infection.

To protect yourself specifically, there are a number of steps that you can take. Some of these are, as I mentioned, social distancing, which is really this idea of keeping space between yourself and others, and staying away from people who are sick.

We're also recommending that folks avoid crowds as much as possible, stay home as much as possible to avoid the risk of being exposed, and making sure that you've have enough food and medications on hand for an extended period of time. We’re recommending you have food for at least a two-week period and make sure you have at least 30 days of medication.

The CDC website has a number of, a number of good information on it that can help you learn how to protect yourself and protect your family, including guidance for retirement communities and independent living. 

Bill Walsh:  Right, and that website is cdc.gov/coronavirus. I wanted to ask you about testing. The direction we're getting from leaders is changing rapidly. Moving from, you know, getting a test to saving testing for medical professionals. It can be a little confusing. So if someone has symptoms like a fever and cough, or they're caring for someone who does, what steps should they take and when should they get tested?

Dr. Williams, are you with us? 

Ian Williams:  Oh, yes. Sorry. I am there. These are great questions that I get every day. And I think the important point here is to make sure to talk to your doctor and your health care provider. They're in the best place to evaluate the need for a test, and the need for urgent medical care.

It's important to make sure, however, that you call ahead and talk to your health care provider before you come in seeking care. For really two reasons. One is, they want to make sure that, when you're coming in, you're getting routed to the right place to receive the right type of care that you might need, and testing is appropriate.

But also, we don't want people who are mildly sick and don't actually have this disease to come in and potentially get infected by other people who are there, seeking care as well. So the advice here is always call ahead and talk to your doctor, and seek medical care as they advised. 

Bill Walsh:  Right. OK. While we're on the topic of testing, we want to provide a quick coronavirus fraud watch alert. The Justice Department has shared that scam artists are at it again, now pedaling fake coronavirus tests. The Justice Department advises to be wary of anyone offering coronavirus tests and requesting payments by wire transfer, cash, gift card, or through the mail.

Please report any suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Williams. Please press star 3 on your telephone keypad at any time to be connected with an AARP staff person to share your question.

And for the latest information, resources about the global coronavirus pandemic visit aarp.org/coronavirus. It's my pleasure to be joined today by my colleague, Jean Setzfand, AARP senior vice president of programs. Jean will help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean. 

Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here for this very important conversation.

Right. Now. Let's turn to your questions and please stay tuned throughout because after these live questions, we'll talk to more experts who can share advice and tips on caring for your loved ones during this time. Let's go ahead and take the first question. Who do we have there, Jean? 

 All right. Our first call is coming from Nancy in New Jersey.

Hey, Nancy, what's your question? 

Nancy:  Hi, my question is, if someone in your home has symptoms that warrant going to the hospital should someone go with them? I'm in my 70s my husband's in his 80s, we both have underlying health issues. And I was just wondering, I haven't heard anything on the news about that, any doctors speaking of that.

Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, can you answer that one? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah. So thanks. That's really a great question. This is really going to vary from place to place, and depending on the condition of the individuals. I think the idea here in large is, is we don't want people who are not sick to become exposed and potentially get sick from people who may be sick.

So, practicing some of this social distancing we’re talking about is important. However, it's important if a person is sick, and they may need help and assistance, to get them to the health care setting where they need to, by all means, that's an important thing to do. Again, I think this goes back and stresses the importance of calling ahead and talking with that health care provider and explaining the situation that you might be in. And they can help provide the best advice to you about how to bring that person in for care, and potential actions you might take to protect yourself while you're doing that.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. Jean, who do we have next? 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Hannah calling in from Texas. 

Bill Walsh:  Hi, Hannah. Go ahead with your question. 

Hannah:  Hi. My question is, my husband and I were in London in January. He was at a big conference and then he got sick on the way home, and then I got sick. And now that we read all the symptoms, they sound like coronavirus. Can we find out if we've had it? 

Bill Walsh:  Are you saying, are you sick now? Are you showing symptoms now? 

Hannah:  That was in January. We are way recovered, both of it. 

Bill Walsh:  So Dr. Williams, Hannah wants to find out if there's a way to find out if she had COVID-19. 

Ian Williams:  So at this point, there are no widely available tests to tell if you've been exposed in the past.

I think the important point here iis that people, when they get ill, people get better usually within a week or two of the time they get sick. As far as we know, once people recover, the kind of mounting evidence suggests that they cannot get infected again. There's still some active research in this area to verify that.

But at this point, there's not an easy test available to tell that you've recovered in the past. However, there's a number of research going on to try to develop a test to do just that. So at this point, there's not an easy way for you to figure that out. 

Bill Walsh:  What about the availability of tests, Dr. Williams? What can you say about that? 

Ian Williams:  Early on in this outbreak, testing was not as widely available as it is today. Even in the early days, testing was being directed by our state and local health department colleagues. So anyone who needed a test, who met criteria for traveling to places where there were a lot of disease or been in contact, were getting tested. Over the last several weeks, testing is becoming much more widely available.

We're reaching a point now in the United States where people who want to get tested and are recommended being tested by their doctor should be able to get that, all across the country. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who's our next caller? 

Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Wendy from Maryland, 

Bill Walsh:  Hey Wendy, go ahead with your question.

Wendy:  Hi. My husband and I have two kids and, with our two grandchildren, who live about 10 minutes from us. And they have self-quarantining themselves, the four of them, and we have been self-quarantining the two of us, for about 14 days — on Monday it'll be 14 days. After the 14 days, if everybody's still well, can we all get together and then continue to go to live in one house instead of two homes? What do you think about that?

 Ian Williams: Yes. So that question is going to vary by different parts of the country where you are. Different parts of the country are experiencing this outbreak in different ways. What I would recommend is actually follow the advice of what your state or local health department is recommending.

Some places are requesting folks shelter in place and shelter in place for a longer period of time. So it's really going to be, following the advice of what your community is telling you about that. 

Bill Walsh:  OK, Jean who is our next caller? 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. Our next caller is Janet from Utah. 

Bill Walsh:  Hey Janet, go ahead with your question.

Janet:  Yes, my husband and I are both over 65, and is it safe to go to the grocery store, and if so, how long does the virus stay on cardboard or plastic? 

Ian Williams:  Right. Those are very good questions. Our recommendation is that people should, especially those over 65, should limit their time that they go out and interact in the public. But understand that people need to be able to go to the grocery store and go about their daily life to get the resources they need in order to be able to live sustainably at home.

So our recommendation is to limit the amount that you do this, especially if you're older or you might have an underlying health condition. And think about the time of day you need to do this, maybe not go when it's going to be as crowded so you can maintain the social distancing. There is evidence that this virus can live in the environment for a period of time.

There's still some research trying to determine how long it can live in the environment. But I want to emphasize that this virus is actually easy to kill with common disinfectants. Hand washing is incredibly effective at preventing you from infecting yourself. So I think it's important if you're going to go out that use either hand sanitizer or wash your hands appropriately when you're coming back from these settings.

Bill Walsh:  We've seen a lot of reports of grocery stores around the country setting special hours for older adults, particularly at night. 

Is there any particular advice you would give people though, if they are going to the grocery store? My own mother was telling me that her grocery store was a wiping down all the carts for the next patron before they came in, and I think they were also limiting the number of people in the store.

What personal precautions should people take if they want to go to the grocery store? 

Ian Williams:  So these are all sensible things to do, everything everyday things we can do to protect ourselves, not only from COVID-19 but other respiratory infections, things like influenza. So in this specific situation, having these special hours for people who might be older can help us make sure we're maintaining appropriate social distancing.

Again, helping clean carts and places that are high risk and are high touch surfaces are completely appropriate. But again I want to emphasize the need to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers if you don't have access to water after you've been in these settings where you might have to touch other high touch surfaces.

Bill Walsh:  OK Jean, let’s take another question.

Jean Setzfand:  All right, we actually have a question coming in from the YouTube channel. This question’s coming in from Nicholas and he's asking, is it safe to have seasonal maintenance performed on my AC system? I’m taking care of my 79-year-old father who has chronic pulmonary conditions.

Ian Williams:  So yeah, that's an excellent question. It's going to vary from situation to situation. Again, we're recommending that folks try to maintain social distance from people, also try to limit their interaction and put off things that aren't absolutely necessary. So I think it's going to depend on how necessary that work is to be done in that situation. If it is critical that it needs to get done for the health and welfare of that individual, they need to make sure they're keeping appropriate social distance from the people that are doing the work.

Again, trying to limit their interaction with them as much as possible. But understand that there needs to be maintenance and things done in order to maintain our overall safety and well-being. So if it's one of those things that's necessary to get done, I would try to do it appropriately.

Bill Walsh:  It raises another question. We've seen a lot of calls into our AARP contact center, people are wondering about food deliveries and prescription deliveries. These seem to be very sensible things to do, but they're worried about having somebody from the outside bring something into their homes. What precautions should they take if they're having any outside services into their homes?

Ian Williams:  Yes, that's an excellent question. And one I get one quite a bit, too. I think this idea of social distancing, and a number of the food and delivery services are already taking these, the opportunities of leaving the packages sort of outside so you're not actually having to interact. if you have to interact with people, make sure you're keeping appropriate social distance, at least six feet between people sort of appropriate. Again, and thinking carefully about if you're having to interact with folks, making sure that you're staying the appropriate distance from them. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. Just a reminder that we can take as, you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad. Jean, who's our next caller? 

Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Kathy from New York.

Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Kathy.

Kathy:  Yes, hi. My husband and I both over 65. We both have underlying problems, but thank God right now we're OK. But if we get any symptoms and we can't get through to our doctor, what should we do?

Ian Williams:  That's a great question. I would call your local emergency department or 911. They can help advise you and route you to the right place to get care. Cause I think it's important, that you call ahead if you're getting sick, to make sure that you're getting to the right place to get the right care that you need.

Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, we've heard a lot about tele-health since the outbreak of the pandemic, and we know that Medicare now is paying for those tele-health visits. Are a lot of doctors participating in tele-health, and has it been easy for patients to use that as a way to connect with medical facilities?

Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's actually a great question and something that's happening more and more. Many hospitals and health care providers are moving more towards this telehealth. It is a great way to do a couple of things. One is to help make sure that people can get access and information they need safely from their home and not have to actually go see the health care provider and potentially risk getting infected if they're not infected.

But it's something that is being used more and more and will be an important thing, as we move forward. It is also this instance of using telehealth for people who are sick to connect people who might be sick with those who are not sick. Because it's important that we support people in our communities who are sick to stay connected with our loved ones as part of this. So using methods to make sure we are staying in contact. And hospitals are working with patients and families to make sure they can stay connected with loved ones who do get sick, and may need hospitalized. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. For the latest information and resources about coronavirus, visit aarp.org/coronavirus. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have a caller, Jim from California. 

Bill Walsh:  Hey, Jim. What's your question? 

Jim:  I've returned from Europe recently and that was about three quarters the way through self-quarantining because neither my wife or I presented any respiratory symptoms. However, shortly I got back, I had vomiting one evening, and severe diarrhea the next.

I've treated those, I'm fine now, but I read recently that gastrointestinal symptoms could also be a symptom of the coronavirus. I'm just wondering, after I'd come out of quarantine, if I should still stay away from people. My local doctors and the hospital aren't interested in testing me unless I get the traditional symptoms.

Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's a great question. There have been reports of people who have sort of a not typical presentation. I want to emphasize that there are a number of other reasons why you could have those presentations that are not related at all to this COVID-19 disease. That's why I think it's important to talk to your health care provider.

Health care providers can provide appropriate guidance about who should get tested. But in general, for people who are either mildly symptomatic or having these atypical sort of presentations who may not get diagnosed, we know that within about three days of the time people get better, they're no longer infectious.

So if you've gotten sick, usually three days after that time you've gotten better, you would not be infectious anymore. So I would say completing your quarantine period, making sure that you are staying home until at least three days after you feel better would be the important thing to protect those in your community and your love ones.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Phyllis from Riverdale, Illinois. 

Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Phyllis, what's your question? 

Phyllis:  OK. My question is that I'm over 65 years of age. I'm in a high-risk category, because I have underlying respiratory issues which are very serious. I have a mother that's 91 years of age.

She's currently staying with my sister, quarantined there. But my sister is feeling not too good. I mean, in other words, it's not necessarily coronavirus. She's exhausted. I need to step in, It's only her and I. How safe or what, what can I do to protect my mother and myself, when I have to step in and intercede to care for my mom?

Bill Walsh:  That's a tough one. Dr. Williams, do you have any advice there? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's a very difficult situation, and I feel for you. So I think the important thing is if you are not feeling well, if you're running a fever and think you could actually have this, you need to basically not interact with her, with your other loved ones, if you can at all avoid it.

Or if you have to, try to make sure that you are social distancing and really staying away from them. This again is a situation where we really want to try to protect those people that are the most vulnerable. And the way to do this is to try to isolated or separate people, even if it's in the household, to try to separate them from other people.

But the important thing here is, is if you're sick and not feeling well, you need to stay away from those people that are the most vulnerable. 

Bill Walsh:  We've been getting a lot of questions like this because family caregivers face a difficult time in ordinary circumstances.

And of course, we're not in ordinary circumstances anymore. One thing we've been advising them is to develop that care team even before their loved one gets sick. So whether it's a family member or a neighbor, just a friend, identify those daily tasks that the person needs and set out that plan very specifically, and do that before he gets sick. So if something does happen, that plan can be activated. and not on the fly.

Ian Williams:  So, yeah, that's amazing advice and really good to think ahead. Again, do a little bit of planning about what you need to do and making sure you have the right plan in place as well as the food, the medication, so that you can be safe and be ready to protect your loved ones.

Bill Walsh:  OK. And we're going to get to a lot more caregiving questions in just a moment. Just a reminder, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP and we're taking your questions today about coronavirus with key experts. Dr. Ian Williams from the CDC is hanging on the line. But before we get to more of your questions, we're going to bring in two experts to discuss what you need to know to best care for your loved ones during this pandemic.

This is clearly an important discussion and based on your responses to the earlier poll, I can see a range of concerns. It looks like 53 percent are mainly concerned about ensuring those that I care for stay safe. That is your greatest concern followed by having adequate food, medicines and supplies.

So those are significant concerns and seem to be felt widely. I'm just reminded, you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad. We'd like to welcome two additional guests to our conversation. Returning this week is administrator Lance Robertson. Administrator Robertson was appointed to serve as assistant secretary for aging and the administrator of the Administration for Community Living in 2017. His vision for ACL focuses on five pillars.

Supporting families and caregivers, protecting rights and preventing abuse, connecting people to resources, expanding employment opportunities, and strengthening the aging and disability networks. Welcome back, Administrator Robertson. Thanks for your time.

Lance Robertson:  Hey Bill. Thanks, happy to be here. 

Bill Walsh:  We’re also joined today by Donna Benton, Ph.D.

She's the director of the University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center, as well as the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center. She has 30 years experience working with family caregivers in communities. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Benton 

Donna Benton:  thank you so much for inviting me today.

Bill Walsh:  Right. Administrator Robertson, let's start with you. Because of illness and social distancing measures, some family caregivers are finding themselves unable to support their loved ones in the way they usually do. And I think we heard an example of that in the question just now. Other family members, friends and neighbors are being asked to step in and provide that assistance.

We also know that some older adults are moving from long-term care facilities back to the community, and will be relying on family caregivers in a new way. What are some of the things people can do to get ready if they're being asked to take over the important role of family caregivers? 

Lance Robertson:  All right, Bill.

Yes, and hello to all your callers. I am so grateful that AARP is putting on this tele-town hall. I think to keep it pretty simple, Bill, I would recommend three things. First of all, people need to be prepared. Secondly, they need to know their resources. And then, finally, they need to focus on also taking care of themselves.

So let me very quickly unpackage that, if you don't mind. So I think when we're talking about being prepared, and you sort of touched on this just a few minutes ago, we can't stress enough the importance of developing a care plan. Communication is key, and obviously a good care plan sort of pushes that, and it helps people understand first and foremost, what is that care recipient or loved one going to need? What's their preference?

We need to make sure that they're honored in those conversations. Then of course, those plans help you appreciate if additional care is needed. How is that going to be provided? Certainly if the health care professional that traditionally guides that care is unavailable, how can we make sure that something doesn't fall through the crack, and where's proper training needed?

So the care plan really helps you work through some of those detailed care elements. But I think also a care plan can focus on a realistic timeline. You know, are we talking about the next week, two weeks, month? What are we looking at? I think it encourages families through that conversation to make sure that they appropriately stock up on medical supplies and nonperishable foods, things that they may need that can be in compliance with quarantine activities.

Also it helps us assure that we are adhering to the management and treatment plans of that loved one. And then also, of course, with self-isolation, we have to be creative in ways that we can prevent boredom for everybody.

We're spending a lot more time together than in some cases we're used to. So we need to work through that. And also, I think it can help us focus on just taking care of ourselves. And that's that third piece, Bill, is, how do we make sure that as caregivers, people don't experience burnout? It’s so important that they take the physical precautions, given the guidance from CDC to make sure they don't fall ill.

But also just the taxes associated sometimes with caregiving can be challenging, and we have to make sure that we're taking care of ourselves. And then also I’ve got a stress, Bill, it's important that people have a backup plan.

I think we all kind of forge ahead and sometimes fail to pause long enough to develop a backup plan. And I know amongst many other resources, I would point to AARP has a lot of free tools in this regard. 

Bill Walsh:  Thanks for mentioning that. At aarp.org/coronavirus you can find actionable information, like how to create a care plan, the questions to ask a nursing home or assisted living facility if your loved one is there.

And ACL has some tremendous resources as well. In particular, the elder care locator, these are local resources which can be found at eldercare.acl.gov. 

 Administrative Robertson, we talked a little bit about this last week, but it's still an issue. We're hearing so much about social isolation.

It's a problem for older adults and family caregivers in the best of times. And we know that social isolation is bad for your health and just as bad as smoking. Social distancing is also important for flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it also creates even greater risks of social isolation.

What can families and caregivers do? 

Lance Robertson:  Yeah. Actually, I think this issue of social isolation at present and in weeks ahead will become such a big issue. Certainly I think it was the BYU research that talked about the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day if you’re socially isolated.

So this isn't something to turn a blind eye to. This is significant. And we know that caregiving, of course, at any time can be an isolating experience profoundly greater now. And living alone is very isolating, a lot of seniors now have been living alone, but now they're even quarantined and experiencing an even deeper level of isolation.

So, it is so important that as we all help navigate through this COVID-19 that we're finding creative ways to stay connected with loved ones and making sure that we first and foremost tackle the social isolation epidemic. I just know on a personal level I have colleagues throughout the country who are older that I check on now every day.

A gentleman from Montana I talk to every day, good friend of mine that works for us that's in his early 90s staying at home, but I'm checking on him regularly. So again, I think all of us can sort of take up that torch and help fight that, simply by using the telephone.

We all know that there are many, many other technology tools out there, ways that people can interact through media. And all of that has value. And I think this is a time really to lean in and to make sure that if you just have a couple extra minutes that can mean the world, and making sure that people feel loved and checked on.

And of course, that also allows us then to maybe address issues that we wouldn't have caught otherwise. So again, so many different ways that we encourage, Bill, for folks to just stay connected. And to reach out and to make sure that those older adults, particularly who are isolating, aren't doing so in a way that just further compounds their health situation.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much, Administrator Robertson. Callers, just a reminder, you can ask a question by pressing star three on your telephone keypad. Now, Dr. Benton, we'd appreciate your expertise. You are based in California where your governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order. California was first, but nearly one-third of the states now have followed suit.

What can the rest of the country learn from California? And what additional responsibility has the state government taken to provide access to food and services, especially for people who are living on their own?

Donna Benton:  I think that more and more states that we've noticed are doing some type of stay-at-home order. And I think with California the word has been, stay home, be safe, bend the curve. Everyone's talking about there’s that term bend the curve. And we want to flatten the curve and make it a little bit easier.

What has happened on the meantime, if you look at our local counties and cities. Is that they stepped up and been listening to and holding town halls on a regular basis to find out what are some of those individual needs within communities that — probably if two people are talking about, it probably represents several thousand people having that issue.

And I think that they've been very responsive, with saying how to check for your local food bank. Making sure that we have ongoing discussions about where supplies are, encouraging the stores to have these special hours so that older adults and their caregivers can get in and get the supplies they need.

Encouraging people to check on your neighbors. Keeping the physical distance of course, but having ways of communicating with your neighbors and being creative. So I think that the fact that this occurred early in California and at different levels of the stay at home orders has really, I hope, really been helping us flatten the curve.

But being informed, I mean, every day there's a town hall, there are meetings. There's a way to go online, television. Everything is there to keep the communication of lines open with our governmental agencies. 

Bill Walsh:  That's terrific. And it, proves the point how important these local networks are, especially the timeline.

I'll give AARP a plug here. Just yesterday we launched our new website aarpcommunityconnections.org where people can put their zip code in and plug into local community resources. They can also ask for a call, if you're isolated or a caregiver, you just want to talk to someone, we're doing outbound calling to people who make that request.

Yeah, it seems like California had to adjust to the situation quickly, but it looks like the rest of the country is having to learn some lessons as well. 

Donna Benton:  I want to point out that California is unique in the sense that we're a multicultural state and multiple languages, and they've been also very sensitive in using both at the governmental level multiple languages, always having ESL.

And being able to reach out to communities and using our community networks that may work with specific cultural groups and using those communities to also get the word out. So we've really asked everyone to work together in California. 

Bill Walsh:  Dr. Benton, for many people, as you know, caregiving involves multiple generations and often can involve multiple generations under the same roof.

What considerations do these caregivers need to take? 

Donna Benton:  We've talked about that, and I really appreciate the discussion from Lance earlier, but as we're living under one roof, I noticed in our poll, about 16 percent of the respondents are worried about strained relationships.

And that's because we may not be used to having the children and the grandchildren and self, parents, all under the same roof, trying to care for each other at same time while keeping this physical distance. So in the home, we do have to make sure that we really are very careful about keeping all the surfaces clean, how we share, we may not share food in the same way and set the plates up differently.

But also keeping activities that can still keep the generations together, for games and talks and watching movies. But having, again, to keep social distancing, so we may have to sit in separate rooms, even in the same house.

Suddenly texting is OK in your own home, as there's always been the joke of like, you're sitting next to somebody and they're texting each other. Well, now we actually may have to do that. 

Bill Walsh:  That's right, who would have thought my teenagers are right. All right. Thank you very much. For those of you just joining our conversation, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and we're speaking with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration for Community Living, and the University of Southern California Family Caregiving Support enter.

We're also taking your questions live. To ask a question anytime, press star 3. Let's go back and get to some of those live questions. Jean, who do you have on the line there for us?

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Lori from Maryland. 

Bill Walsh:  Hi, Lorrie. Go ahead with your question. 

Lorrie:  Hi. My mother is 93 and she still lives in her home by herself. She has three different caregivers on 12 hours shifts on different days. And my family is very concerned about their whereabouts when they're not with my mother.

When they're not on their shift. And I'm just very concerned if we, what we should do with this situation. And is this very safe?

 Bill Walsh: That's interesting, so concern about presumably these are paid caregivers who are coming in and looking after Lorrie’s mom. Dr. Benton, do you want to take that? And administrative Robertson, if you want to chime in, feel free to do that as well.

Donna Benton:  I'll let Administrator Robinson go first because there are two things going on here. I think for your family, clearly you need the caregivers, and your mother really needs this help around the clock. So they'd have to take the precautions that any health care provider would be doing if you're working in a hospital or if you're working in a home, so that they may have to take those extra precautions.

Particularly since, as you said, you don't know what they're doing and what's happening when they leave your mother's home. So, it's really taking all of those precautions in the home during the care and then making the calls and feeling comfortable asking questions. I know you don't want to sound rude and say, “Hey, anyone sick around you?” But knowing that if one of the three caregivers falls ill then having that backup plan available of who's going to step in for that third shift.

Bill Walsh:  Well, let me just put a finer point on it. If Lorrie is wondering what question she should be asking the particular caregivers or the agency they work with, what kinds of questions you should be asking.

Lance Robertson:  Yeah. I'm happy to jump in. This is Lance. I really would encourage Lorrie to reach out to the home health care agency, because this is helpful to know and reassuring. These professional agencies also are very in tune with how important it is that their workforce not only take good care of themselves, but are cautious to not infect or cause the people they're caring for to become ill.

So I can tell you, this is a question we're getting pretty commonly, and our response has traditionally been that these health care companies are taking extraordinary measures to make sure that their in-home caregivers are taking all the right precautions, both for the people they serve and for themselves.

But that doesn't mean that, Lorrie, you don't have a right to press that agency and say, can you walk me through the measures you’re taking, the training you're providing the rotation of the workers that you're having going into the homes. So often, we think that people are approaching this work maybe too casually.

But I think what we're seeing now is a real resurgence and commitment amongst the workforce of knowing how important they are and how careful they need to be again for themselves and those they care for. I hope that that's reassuring to some degree, but I would still encourage Lorrie to not only press that home care agency.

But then also if there's an opportunity for her to observe for herself or have somebody observe just to make sure that some of that's being complied with in full, that would probably be the best way to be comforted. 

Bill Walsh:  Thanks very much, Jean. Who's next? 

 Jean Setzfand: Coming from Linda in Arizona. 

 Linda, go ahead and ask the question.

Linda:  Hello. My mother is in an independent living facility and they have just announced that they're going to go on a lockdown. They aren't allowing visitors in, they are going to be confined to their room with meals delivered. My question is, should I go get my mother and have her come to my house? Should I just rely on their care and what's happening?

They haven't reported any cases in the facility. Kind of reaching out just to figure out what you recommend. 

Bill Walsh:  Administrator Robertson. Do you want to take that one? 

Lance Robertson:  Yeah, I can answer just from my perspective, but I would encourage Dr. Williams to chime in too as a clinician. My concern is, from what I just heard, that the environment she's in right now, it seems to be safe, and taking her out of that safe environment, even to a loved one's home, such as yours could enhance the risk.

But again, Dr. Williams would be the best one to answer that question. I do know, again, when it comes to independent living communities, even assisted living communities, we are seeing more and more as a common practice now that those places are going into a lockdown mode just to provide the ultimate protection to the residents.

Of course that's still case by case. People have individual freedoms. Families and residents have to sort of explore what they believe is the best case for them. Many of those variables can differ from person to person, resident to resident. If a resident is fairly frail, that obviously would prompt a different type of question.

I think for a lot of folks that have been self-isolating, this isn't a big change in their daily routine. So there's not a one-size-fits-all sort of answer. I would, referring to Dr. Williams, his expertise and his colleagues at CDC, when it comes to relocating a senior, that's probably where they're best suited to answer the safety associated with that. 

Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, do you want to chime in on that? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah, and I think you hit it exactly right, this is going to vary from situation to situation, and actually is going to vary from different parts of the country to different parts of the country.

These are sort of personalized decisions where you're going to have to evaluate the risk and try to determine what the best solution here is. And these are incredibly difficult situations. It's better to think ahead rather than trying to be reactive.

You're really going to have to customize these in a way that works best for you, your family and your loved ones. It's not a great answer, but it's the best way to address this on a case-by-case basis.

Bill Walsh:  Yeah, that's a tough choice to have to confront. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

Jean Setzfand:  We have a question on Facebook Live and this question is coming from Darlene. She's asking I’m 74 with asthma, I usually babysit great grandkids. My granddaughter is on two weeks of unpaid leave to take care of her son, who has the regular flu. What can I do to watch him as her job is getting more and more essential?

Bill Walsh:  So it sounds like Darlene, who has asthma, is being asked to take care of her grandson who has flu symptoms. Dr. Williams, do you have any advice for her? 

Ian Williams:  These are difficult situations. The idea is to try to take the people that are ill and segregate them, put them in a different part of your house.

Make sure you're doing appropriate hand washing, do appropriate cleaning and disinfection. And there's some guidance on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov that can tell you about cleaning and disinfection, caring for people in these sort of situations. The goal here is to try to limit your exposure to those people. 

But realize these are incredibly difficult situations where you need to care for a loved one. Try to do the best you can. Appropriate hand-washing, disinfection, those things are all critical, while maintaining care for those that sick and may have COVID-19. 

 Bill Walsh: OK, Let's take another call. Who do you have on the line?

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Cora from Los Angeles, California. 

Bill Walsh:  Go ahead Cora, what's your question? 

Cora:  I'm a senior and I recently had surgery for breast cancer, and I live alone. I was concerned about supplies and things like that and going out. I have a son, but he’s a senior also and he has medical problems, and I'm concerned about him going around finding things for me. so I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this situation because I'm not computer literate. So I don't have access to those things that you are offering in order to get what I need. 

Bill Walsh:  So Cora, is your main concern about getting medical supplies and food, is that the main concern right now? 

Cora:  Well, I had recently had breast cancer also, and I have a breathing problem, so.

I have a variety of illnesses and I'm 87 years old, so I'm concerned about this virus and I'm concerned about taking care of myself in a situation where I'm not supposed to get out. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. There are a lot of different issues there. Administrator Robertson, I wonder if you wanted to talk about how Cora might plug into some local resources, it sounds like she doesn't have access to a computer.

Lance Robertson:  Yeah, absolutely, Bill, thank you for an opportunity to visit with Cora and your listeners. I think the information I can share here should be incredibly helpful. So Cora, even if you don't have access to a computer, our best resource is a toll-free phone number, and it's the eldercare locator.

And I'll repeat that for all, it's 1-800-677-1116. And I'll repeat that again here in a second. But the beauty though, Bill, of how centralized our network is, even though we offer a wide range of services, people can access information about all those services through this central number.

So whether it's food or transportation or any other variety of services we offer, people can call this central number, which will connect them with the local area agency on aging that covers their area and really can serve as a navigator to help them connect with what resources are out there.

Some of those resources and programs and services we offer directly. Other things that we're aware of can be found through that locator as well. So depending on the community and where Cora’s from, my suspicion is there will be a lot of different services that are out there even beyond what we provide through maybe faith-based groups, or civic organizations or city/county work.

. So, hopefully Cora can find through this number — again, which is 1-800-677-1116 — hopefully Cora and other callers can find what they need. This covers the entire country, every county, every community, all across America.

Bill Walsh:  Very good. And Dr. Benton, I know you're in Southern California. Do you have some words or advice for people in Cora’s situation? 

Donna Benton:  You know, I was going to give the eldercare locator phone number. In California, that will get you to services that are local. I think that if for Cora and for her son, who probably is concerned about how she's going to get things, a lot of the local stores and pharmacies are willing to deliver.

And so they can leave things right at the doorstep, or her son can leave things on the doorstep so that they keep physical distance. But I think it is going to be very important to talk to your son, because he's probably just as worried about you being alone and not having what you need.

And some of that is looking at, what do you have now? And then, what do you think you're going to run out of in a month so that maybe you can preplan and order things early enough in advance. But I do encourage you to make that call to the eldercare locator and find out what's local in your communities.

A lot of the area agencies on aging are absolutely delivering meals and helping with medication and linking you to your local churches and places like that, a neighborhood availability of services.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Thanks very much for that. Jean, who's next on the line? 

Jean Setzfand:  We have Patrick from Virginia. 

Bill Walsh:  Patrick, go ahead with your question. 

Patrick:  Oh, good afternoon. The panel is recommending the creation of a care plan. Can you give some practical pointers on what should be in that plan, and especially how the caregiver can protect him or herself when there's just two of you. And as a follow-up question, while you’re sheltering at home and the walls are starting to come in on you, is there any reason not to take a car drive, just throw the cobwebs away? 

Bill Walsh:  OK, so some real-life concerns there from Patrick. Administrator Robertson, do you want to talk about that? You had talked about a care plan earlier.

Lance Robertson:  Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Patrick. I'll certainly defer to Dr. Williams for the clinical part of your question of driving around, but I think that's very healthy to be able to do and safe to do. And, you know, we need that sunlight, the oxygen and all that sort of thing.

But at care plans, there are so many great templates out there, Patrick. I referenced the AARP website earlier. You can even go on our website at acl.gov. There are so many different templates that you can populate with information, that at least gives you a great start to a care plan.

Of course, all good care plans are going to be customized to the person receiving the care, and we highly encourage and recommend that you talk with that person as you develop the plan. So many families we know will have the caregiver or other members of the family begin filling up the plan, and sometimes they completely exclude the person who's receiving care.

I would argue that has to be flipped, and the person receiving care needs to really weigh in. It covers things such as the sort of essential things that you need to have access to, whether that's certain types of foods or medications.

Certainly it lists out who the care providers are primarily, who are your clinical supports for some of the questions and needs you may have, what type of direct care that individual has to have, whether or not it's straightforward or complex. So all of those things, Patrick, are sort of highlighted in templates that you can find on AARP’s website or our website or several others.

Those are good guideposts for how the conversation needs to take place. And then of course, customized more specifically within what that care receiver and the family would like to see happen. 

Bill Walsh:  Yes. That's excellent advice. A couple of the things that we've noted, and I think Dr. Williams mentioned this earlier, is doing an inventory of what you've got on hand, food, dry goods, medical supplies. The CDC is suggesting having at least two weeks of those things, and also develop a communications plan. If you get sick and have to be isolated, who's going to be reaching out to you, or who's going to be reaching out to your loved one if, as a caregiver, you're not able to?

Dr. Benton had also mentioned local resources, delivery services for prescription drugs or food. Those are increasingly common and they seem like they should be part of a care plan as well. 

Dr. Benton, Patrick had asked a question about self-care. Can you talk a little bit about that for caregivers? 

Donna Benton:  Absolutely. This is the time where we have to use our "Four Ms" towards self-care. And remember, we don't want to strain these relationships. So if we're sitting at home, I have what I'm calling the Four Ms, which is mail, music, movies and meals.

In order to stay connected, you can use email and the old-fashioned mail, snail mail. This is a good time to pick up your music collection. You have music probably at home. You can fill your house with music from YouTube. Sometime music gives us a different feeling in our body and helps us feel good.

This is a good time, when I say movies, not going out to theaters, but, finding some movies that make you laugh to get that stress and release. Don't turn on the TV and keep on the COVID-19 information 24/7, take some breaks. Be creative about meals and make sure that every meal is something that you're going to enjoy.

But maybe, depending on your diet, have something that you really enjoy in that meal. So if it's a cupcake, you may have it delivered, two weeks from now you say, you know what, I'm going to have a cupcake delivered or I'm going to have a cake delivered to me.

So you want to make sure you have respite there. I've noticed that there's more online yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes. So there's another M, mindfulness, to add to our M theme. if you keep in mind that you can do things to keep yourself energized, relaxed, and humor, I think this will help us through these stressful times.

Bill Walsh:  For the latest information, resources about coronavirus, visit aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have some exercise videos out there. You can tee them up and do some exercises right in your own home. Jean who do we have next on the call-in line? 

Jean Setzfand:  We have Patty calling in from California. 

Bill Walsh:  Patty, go ahead with your question.

Patty:  Hi. My brother is, due for cancer surgery in about a week and a half. I'm 69. My original plan was that I would take him there, be with him in the hospital and do some caretaking afterwards. I don't know, that's probably not a great option. My son can step in, he's 34. But my question is — I know the hospital will set up some guidelines about who can be there and who can't and all that — in transporting him to and from the hospital and then post-surgery at home, what kind of precautions would you recommend for whoever does the caretaking and the transportation? Should they be wearing masks, gloves? What would you recommend? We want to protect him from us and us from anything he might catch at the hospital.

Bill Walsh:  Sure. Dr. Williams, do you want to address that one?

Ian Williams:  I'm going to go back to some of the things I said earlier. This is sort of a on a case-by-case basis. It depends on the situation and the setting the care’s being administered in. if the care is in a hospital setting, following the guidelines of the folks in the hospital.

Hospitals are customizing care in different ways, depending on their current capacity. For people aren't sick, don't go into a health care setting and actually become sick. A lot of it is following sensible precautions about social distancing, making sure that you're washing your hands appropriately, are all keys to make sure that people who are not ill don't get ill.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand:  We have a call from Ruth in Indiana. 

Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Hey Ruth, go ahead with your question. 

Ruth:  Yes. Part of my question had been answered by another caller about in-home care, and I have pushed mine back a little because I'm afraid that they may bring in something to my husband who is 80 and a half and he has dementia and heart disease, and if he got this I think it would finish him off.

So I'm very careful about that because they don't wear a mask, and they wear gloves if you provide them yourself, which I have the gloves, but I don't have any mask and they don't furnish them from the in-home care company. But I did get part of that answer on the previous caller.

Also I wanted to know, I have groceries delivered from a supermarket and I go to Walgreens, which is a block from me, if I need other things. Should I wash off the containers and cans or bottles and things before I put them in the refrigerator? 

Bill Walsh:  OK. So two questions there. One about a grocery delivery, but there was also a question I heard Ruth say that she had pushed off the in-home care because of concerns about infecting her home.

We can address both of those questions. Dr. Williams, do you want to address the one about grocery deliveries first? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah. Right now there is not evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is being spread by contact with cans and boxes and environmental surfaces that you would pick up in the grocery store.

The way this infection is spread is from infected droplets, people who cough. There could be a theoretic risk that some of these droplets could land on surfaces and they might persist for a while, but there is no evidence that this is being spread through those means.

I think some of this comes back to sensible precautions that we would do every day. There's not currently a need or a recommendation to wash cans and boxes and things like that because they're unlikely to have somebody who's coughed on them and gotten secretions on them. However I do want to emphasize the importance of your personal hand-washing.

If you've been out and you've touched surfaces other people might've touched, like shopping carts , it's important to use hand sanitizer if you've got it. Hand washing is always the best solution, but hand sanitization is a way to lower your risk of potentially getting infected.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Administrator Robertson or Dr. Benton, did you want to address the in-home care issue?

Donna Benton:  Because most people are concerned about someone bringing something in from the outside, if you're using a home health agency, you can ask them what their protocols are. If you have a private person that you're paying, making sure that they follow the hand washing procedures and everything that's set up in your home as they're coming in to help you.

Bill Walsh:  All right. Go ahead Administrator Robertson. 

Lance Robertson:  If there's a concern there, safety is always the best path to travel. I do think a lot of home health agencies are very tuned in to what they're going to have to do.

I do think that there's some variances across the country, but for all callers and all people in a situation such as this, I would definitely hammer home for the health care agency, what are the protocols, what supplies are they providing their own workers. And essentially the question of how are you going to make sure my loved one, the person you're caring for, has a super low risk of contracting something from the workers? I think that's a very fair question to ask.

 Bill Walsh: Yeah. We're obviously combating the coronavirus, but we're combating fear and anxiety as well. We've been seeing a lot of questions like this from caregivers. We are telling people this is a time to be that strong advocate for your loved one, whether they're in a nursing home or assisted living or like Ruth, you have in-home care.

If you've got concerns, raise them. Like Administrative Robertson was saying, many of the facilities and services are taking extra precautions to make sure that they're developing safe and healthy services. But maybe we're in that zone of trust, but verify. And it's important to be an advocate for your loved one.

OK. Jean, who's next on the line? 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Barry from an 814 area code. 

Bill Walsh:  OK Barry, go ahead. 

Barry:  Yeah. I'll just explain my situation. There's like two main questions. I am 54. I am on disability. I had a traumatic brain injury. I do have some health issues. I have asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure.

So I feel like with my age, I probably will be OK to recover. But I'm wondering, this is one of the questions, I heard something about having the asthma, the fibrosis of the lungs, like if you could explain that. Somebody said if you wait too long to get to the hospital, it's too late because of that.

And the other question is related to, if I get that, what do I do with mum? She's done some respite stays with hospice and I know you can pay like an extra day or so, they'll do that. But I don't know if they would take her if I was infected. And the other question is, what if she gets infected?

I'm the only caregiver. I have one lady that comes in at night sometimes and helps. She's 75 so I wouldn't want her to be exposed. and I don't know if hospice, if that lady would come if we’re exposed. So do I send her to the hospital or just both of us stay and shelter in place and hope for the best.

I know there’s lots of stuff there. But that's my two main questions. What's the fibrosis and what do I do if she gets it, what do I do if I get it? 

Bill Walsh:  OK, thanks for the call, Barry. Let's start with the medical question. Dr. Williams, do you want to address the one about fibrosis of the lungs? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah, I'll start in very simply and say this is an incredibly complicated situation you're in and really there are no easy answers.

But one of the things I can say is we know that people who have underlying medical conditions and have existing conditions that may affect their breathing, this disease can affect them worse and make them sicker than other people. So what I would say is, if you're having difficulty breathing, if you have what you think are the signs and symptoms of this disease, which are fever, difficulty breathing, things you would see with influenza, flu symptoms, I would call your health care provider immediately, especially if you're having difficulty breathing because there are things people can do to provide you either medications or get you to a place where they can have a higher level of care to help you through breathing. So reach out early, especially if you know you have one of these underlying conditions.

Bill Walsh:  OK. And Administrator Robertson, his second question, it sounded like it had a lot to do with caregiving. He's a caregiver for his mom, and it sounds like he has a little bit of help, but that he's the main person. He's concerned, what happens if she gets sick? What happens if he does? 

Lance Robertson:  Yeah. I think there's a lot going on. My heart goes out to you. I know you need to be safe and your exposure with your mother, who is quite a bit older, but then your own health care conditions are presenting you in a compromised state. It might be good to begin supporting yourself with what is out there to help you.

I would direct you to the eldercare locator, those area agencies on aging. And by the way, we also are in charge at the federal level of programs for people with disabilities. As one example, we do run the TBI program. This will help. So I think there are lots of intersections maybe where we can help Barry, but I would direct you for local services, to that elder care locator and begin asking that same question of, hey, what's out there that I can either maybe have access to now or know what's available with a phone call should I need it?

So often it's about advanced planning and just having those conversations in advance and just being ready. Certain things, it's great to know about, even if you never have to pull the trigger.

For community-based resources, all of that can be found on the eldercare locator. 

Bill Walsh:  Yeah. And that number again is 1-800-677-1116. Jean, who's next on the line. 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Linda calling in from Connecticut. 

Bill Walsh:  Hey, Linda, go ahead with your question. 

Linda:  My question is, I just got a call from my mother's nursing home this morning that they got their first case of the COVID-19.

As a family advocate, is there anything that we can do to protect my mother, or what should we be doing, if anything? 

Bill Walsh:  You're presumably leaving her in the facility? Are you asking whether you should remove her? 

Linda:  That’s pretty much what I’m asking. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Williams, do you want to answer that and maybe the other two guests can also chime in.

Ian Williams:  Yeah, I'd be happy to start. These are incredibly difficult situations and they really need to be customized on a case-by-case basis. I would make sure you're talking closely with the care setting she's in, understanding what guidance and recommendation they're given to you.

We understand that this is a situation that's occurring in many of these settings across the United States. Many of these settings actually have plans in place for how to deal with when a case is diagnosed within the community. So it would be important to reach out to them and understand what the plan they are taking in order to protect your loved one in that setting.

And then you have to assess whether you believe that plan is sufficient to protect the person in place or whether you think there's another alternative plan that might be more appropriate. I'll turn it over to the other speakers for additional comments.

Donna Benton:  I would say if your mother stays there, she might be used to being able to move more freely throughout the facility.

It's real important for you to stay in contact with her and talk to the facility about how they're going to help make that happen for you and your family. I don't know if she uses a cellphone, but more frequent calls to her, from the facility, they may have laptops or iPads that they can take into the room so that you can have some visual contact with her.

I think that's also going to be important as she stays there, because they may not have as many group activities. Many times nursing homes have stopped that, and they're doing room-to-room activities. So making sure that you stay in communication with your mother, I know this is really very challenging, difficult times.

But as you've heard, there are steps that you can take, but it's always going to be anxiety provoking.

Lance Robertson:  I want to jump in because this does touch long term care facilities, which we’re partially responsible for at ACL. But, you know, Linda, that situation is tough. And I think what we all want to commit to is, even though now some of the protocols may shift for that nursing home, we need to all make sure that the quality of care that's expected remains intact.

Dr. Williams has excellent advice on whether or not you decide to leave your mother there or take her to your home. And then Dr. Benton referenced again, if she stays, what should that look like? And that's where our resources could be helpful to you, because every nursing home has an ombudsman, and that individual their sole responsibility is to ensure the quality of care remains at a level that it should be. 

And I believe nursing homes are committed to that. I'm always careful. I don't want you to presume care may get worse under a highly quarantined situation, but I would make sure.

And be in regular contact with your ombudsman that covers that particular nursing facility, and that individual as your surrogate can help you make sure that all the different access to care happens for your mother. You can access the ombudsmen through the eldercare locator.

We also have a website that is pretty easy to remember. It's just ltc.ombudsman.org. These are trained professionals who can make sure that the quality care remains at a level that is expected in nursing homes, particularly under conditions like this where things pivot a bit.

Bill Walsh:  Just following up on that, Dr. Williams, you had given the advice to Linda about asking those questions and finding out what the plan is. I guess if I were making that call, I wouldn't know whether the nursing home plan is a good one or not. So what things should she be looking out for when she makes that call?

What steps should she really make sure that nursing home is taking to protect her mom? 

Ian Williams:  That's a great question. We've been telling nursing homes and places that care for people who may have underlying conditions to have plans in place to be ready to execute them for a number of weeks now.

And those plans are going to look different in different places, depending on the setting. They should be able to explain to you in relatively plain language what they are doing to protect your loved ones, what steps they are taking.

Those will look like things like making sure that anybody who is ill can be isolated from the rest of the community, still receive a level of care they might need, and really separate them from other folks within the community. A number of these settings have stopped community gatherings, cafeteria style seating, those sort of things.

Understanding how they're going to change now that — if they haven't already started doing this thing — how does this situation change? And it should make sense to you that they are taking the appropriate level of care to protect your loved ones. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. We have time for a couple more questions. Jean, who's on the line next? 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. I'm actually going to take one from the YouTube channel, and we're seeing quite a few questions related to that. So this one's coming from Bellativa, who's asking if everyone wears masks, DIY type or N95. Wouldn't it flatten the curve? 

You wouldn't overwhelm your immune system and give your immune system time to catch up instead of with one blast exposure. 

Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, do you want to take that, the mask question? 

Ian Williams:  This is a question I get asked quite frequently by people. Understanding how masks work is an important part of understanding how this answer is.

Surgical masks really don't protect you from getting sick. The reason surgeons and medical care professionals wear them is to keep them from making you sick. So the mask actually keeps those droplets inside the mask, but they actually don't do a great job of keeping things from the outside getting in.

We recommend people who are sick and need to get care to think about wearing masks because it will keep them from infecting other people. Really the underlying piece here too is that there is a tremendous need to keep those masks, especially the ones that are higher level protection — these are sometimes called N95 masks — available for our health care providers, because those are the ones who are having to care for the very sick people.

They're wearing these higher level masks so they can go in and do the care that's needed. Some of this is about preserving those masks and this personal protective equipment for our health care communities because we don't want our health care providers — who have to be able to provide care for sick people — to get sick themselves.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much, Doctor. Jean, who's next on the line? 

Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Dorothy from Virginia. 

Bill Walsh:  Hey Dorothy, go ahead with your call. 

Dorothy:  Hello. I just called a nursing home, a local nursing home, and I asked if I could send letters to the patients and also do FaceTime or Skype. And they basically said, no, but I can be a volunteer and I am 65.

Is that the current trend of all nursing homes?

Bill Walsh:  Administrator Robinson, do you want to take that? 

Lance Robertson:  Yeah. Happy to reassure everyone that it's actually not the typical response we're hearing from nursing homes across the country. So, Dorothy, I'm sorry that the Virginia facility has responded in that way. Although I'll be honest, I don't know what their specific protocols may look like.

However, I would encourage you to reach out to the local long-term care ombudsman because that individual will know what's appropriate and what feels inappropriate. Limiting any kind of contact though, just at face value seems appropriate.

But I would be careful to overstep my bounds without consulting the ombudsman. If you call the eldercare locator number and ask for the ombudsman that covers that particular facility, they will be able to connect you and that individual should be able to break through any sort of resistance you're getting because they're authorized to do so.

If there are some problems that need to be corrected, that ombudsman is absolutely equipped to do that. If the protocols in place for that nursing home for various reasons are sensible, then the ombudsman will be honest and share that with you as well. I think for any caller or any listener having a similar experience to Dorothy, these ombudsman are incredibly powerful advocates who are highly committed to doing great work.

And they would love to hear from you if you're having any experiences that you might deem questionable. 

Bill Walsh:  Maybe you can say a little bit more about that. For our listeners who haven't heard about the ombudsman program, these folks do not work for the nursing home facility themselves. Who do they work for?

Who do they answer to, and how much autonomy and influence do they have? 

Lance Robertson:  Without getting too deep into the weeds, these are well-trained individuals, most of whom are volunteers. There are some paid staff in every state that's overseeing the volunteer cadre. But these professionals by law have access to nursing homes to make sure that the quality of care is where it needs to be.

This is a different environment. I want to be clear that that doesn't mean our ombudsmen are going into nursing homes, because I think by and large, we would all question whether or not that's a safe thing to do. However, most of them now have protocols in place where they can really monitor and be able to assure that quality is where it needs to be.

They are there to be on behalf of a family member, that representative to make sure that the resident is receiving the care that they need. These individuals are funded through Older Americans Act dollars, which comes through our federal agency, but these are not federal employees.

The supervisors that are paid staff can be state employees, they can also work for an independent agency that's contracted with, but these individuals exist across the entire country, and every nursing facility has a designated ombudsman. So any caller should feel assured that there is somebody there that can represent their needs for the family member in that nursing home.

Even if they're going through a situation like Dorothy's where it feels like they're sort of being blocked out, that's not the sort of thing that most of us would support. There are safe ways for us to be able to be in communication with our loved one. And being isolated doesn't mean that you're shut off from the world.

Bill Walsh:  That's right. Thank you very much for that. And the eldercare locator, we've said a couple of times, but you can't say it enough, you can reach it at 800-677-1116. OK. Dr. Williams, Administrator Robertson, and Dr. Benton, any closing thoughts or recommendations, what AARP members should understand most from our conversation today?

Dr. Williams, do you want to lead us off? 

Ian Williams:  Yeah. I want to say thank you and thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today. This is an incredibly challenging time for you and our communities here in the United States. I want to let you know that folks are here to support you. There's a number of good guidance and advice out there for folks who have access to the internet.

Www.cdc.gov has good advice on how to take care of your health and support you through this. A number of guidances, especially focused on folks who are in retirement communities in independent living on how to appropriately sanitize, wash your hands. We'll, we'll keep working with you and, as a community, we know we'll get through this.

Bill Walsh:  OK, Administrator Robertson. Do you have any closing thoughts? 

Lance Robertson:  Absolutely. I'm grateful for the work of people like Dr. Williams and CDC. I can tell you that from a whole of government response, listeners should be very proud of what I know the federal government's working diligently to do in response to COVID-19. 

Like all emergencies, really the response sequence is supposed to be locally executed, state supported, state managed and federally supported. So we're doing all we can to support those states who are managing local-level execution. I would say one thing, that we all need to become a champion.

So it's imperative that the information you've heard today you take and share with others. Hopefully for every caller, this is information that can share with many other folks. Certainly the resource information that we provided, that's an easy thing to share. And then for the caregivers, many are on the line, take care of yourselves. Thanks, Bill. 

Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. And Dr. Benton, any closing thoughts? 

Donna Benton:  Yeah, I just want to say, thank you. And also for all of us as family caregivers and your being advocates, you’re on this phone call and as he said, share this information.

And also remember this is a time where we're keeping physical distance, but that doesn't mean that we aren't going to be socially connected and we're doing this social connections through continuing to talk to each other and continuing to give encouragement and love and keeping a sense of humor.

And taking that time for yourself when you can and your family as you're all under one roof. Taking time to listen to music, do movies, be creative with yourself and find ways to relax, and manage your stress. I think this will help us get through this entire crisis, as a community, as a family and as a country.

Bill Walsh:  Thank you very much. Well said, and thanks to each of you for answering our questions. And thank you our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in discussion. If your question was not addressed, please go aarp.org/coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans from more than 60 years.

In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, will be available tomorrow, March 27, and can be found aarp.org/coronavirus.

Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. There you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something today that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune into our next AARP tele-town hall on Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Tele-Town Hall March 26th

Bill Walsh:  Hello, I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. We have leading experts with us to discuss how you can stay healthy and informed, and we'll address your questions, live. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization. Has been working to promote the health and wellbeing of older Americans for more than 60 years..

[00:00:28] In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus. Today, we'll ask experts how to support loved ones who need care, how to access local resources and how to cope with stress and anxiety held by you, your family, friends and neighbors.

[00:00:55] If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, press star 3 on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member, who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live.

[00:01:20] So to ask you a question, please press star 3. But before we begin our conversation, we need to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us, what is your greatest concern related to caring for friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic.

[00:01:36] Press 1 on your telephone keypad if your greatest concern is ensuring those I care for are safe. Press 2, if your greatest concern is dealing with an increased financial burden. Press 3 if your greatest concern is straining personal relationships. And press 4 if your greatest concern is having adequate food, medications and supplies.

[00:02:17] So what is your greatest concern related to care — caring for friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic? Press 1 for ensuring those you care for are safe, 2 for dealing with an increased financial burden, 3 for straining personal relationships, and 4 for having adequate food, medications and supplies.

[00:02:24] Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We are talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press star 3.

[00:02:41] Joining us today is a distinguished lineup. Doctor Ian Williams is branch chief of the outbreak response and prevention branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. Lance Robertson, the assistant secretary for aging and administrator of the Administration for Community Living. and Dr. Donna Benton, director of the University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center.

[00:03:10] AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP and providing information and advocacy related to the Coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[00:03:29] It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also learn more about the coronavirus and older adults through the Administration for Community Living at acl.gov/covid-19. And to find local resources, you can visit eldercare.acl.gov/. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording on AARP.org/coronavirus 24 hours after the event.

[00:04:04] Now let's get to our first guest. We're joined today by Ian Williams, Ph.D., branch chief of the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch at the CDC. Dr. Williams has been at the CDC since 1994 and has been involved in a number of outbreak investigations. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Williams.

[00:04:28]Ian Williams:  Thank you, and great to be here.

[00:04:30]Bill Walsh:  All right, well, let's jump right in. We're in a rapidly changing environment. can you tell our listeners, about the latest information on the spread of the pandemic and what more each of them can do to stay safe?

[00:04:48]Ian Williams:  Yes. Thank you. Thank you for the invitation to talk to you today. This is a rapidly evolving situation and I understand it's a difficult time for all of us, and some of the news you may have been seeing is quite alarming. It's important to know that there are steps that you and your family you can take to protect your health and protect the health of your family, your friends and your community.

[00:05:09] So we're going to be talking about some of those steps today. So in the United States, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and New York City have reported more than 60,000 cases, and sadly more than a thousand deaths. Worldwide there've been more than 400,000 cases reported. And sadly, we expect more cases to occur and be reported.

[00:05:35] I want to be clear that this increase is not just a result of increased testing. As we've been saying for weeks, we expect more and more cases to continue to occur. Many communities in the United States have already started taking aggressive action in their community to help lessen the impact of this epidemic occurring in the United States and around the world.

[00:06:02] I want to emphasize that different communities are taking different actions at different places to do what we call flatten the curve. What I mean by that, this is an epidemiologic expression that may not be familiar to people even a few weeks ago, but really it's the idea of learning how to lessen the impact on the community by people taking action to protect themselves, their families and their friends.

[00:06:31] So what is happening across the country, people in schools and businesses are adjusting to this new reality where we're focused on really reducing the impact the virus will have on us collectively.

[00:06:45] So, a couple of things to say about this virus, and what we know about it and what we can do to help protect ourselves. This new virus spread mainly through respiratory secretions. These are small droplets that you produce when you cough or sneeze that can land on another person or other surfaces.

[00:07:03] Because of this and the fact that there is no vaccine or approved treatments yet for this disease, community interventions to promote social distancing are essential to slow the spread of this new virus. In addition, evidence from most countries show that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.

[00:07:25] Recent data from the CDC and around the world show that people over 65 years of age and especially those older than 85 years of age may be at higher risk, as well as people who have underlying medical conditions that may suppress their immune system.

[00:07:42] Therefore, it's very important to follow guidance that is being putting out by your local and state health department officials and government officials on social distancing. Social different is this idea of making sure that we are slowing the spread of the virus to protect yourself, the health care system and people who are at higher risk of infection.

[00:08:06] To protect yourself specifically, there are a number of steps that you can take. Some of these are, as I mentioned, social distancing, which is really this idea of keeping space between yourself and others, and staying away from people who are sick.

[00:08:20] We're also recommending that folks avoid crowds as much as possible, stay home as much as possible to avoid the risk of being exposed, and making sure that you've have enough food and medications on hand for an extended period of time. We’re recommending you have food for at least a two-week period and make sure you have at least 30 days of medication.

[00:08:40] The CDC website has a number of, a number of good information on it that can help you learn how to protect yourself and protect your family, including guidance for retirement communities and independent living.

[00:08:55]Bill Walsh:  Right, and that website is cdc.gov/coronavirus. I wanted to ask you about testing. The direction we're getting from leaders is changing rapidly. Moving from, you know, getting a test to saving testing for medical professionals. It can be a little confusing. So if someone has symptoms like a fever and cough, or they're caring for someone who does, what steps should they take and when should they get tested?

[00:09:36] Dr. Williams, are you with us?

[00:09:39]Ian Williams:  Oh, yes. Sorry. I am there. These are great questions that I get every day. And I think the important point here is to make sure to talk to your doctor and your health care provider. They're in the best place to evaluate the need for a test, and the need for urgent medical care.

[00:09:57] It's important to make sure, however, that you call ahead and talk to your health care provider before you come in seeking care. For really two reasons. One is, they want to make sure that, when you're coming in, you're getting routed to the right place to receive the right type of care that you might need, and testing is appropriate.

[00:10:16] But also, we don't want people who are mildly sick and don't actually have this disease to come in and potentially get infected by other people who are there, seeking care as well. So the advice here is always call ahead and talk to your doctor, and seek medical care as they advised.

[00:10:33]Bill Walsh:  Right. OK. While we're on the topic of testing, we want to provide a quick coronavirus fraud watch alert. The Justice Department has shared that scam artists are at it again, now pedaling fake coronavirus tests. The Justice Department advises to be wary of anyone offering coronavirus tests and requesting payments by wire transfer, cash, gift card, or through the mail.

[00:11:00] Please report any suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Williams. Please press star 3 on your telephone keypad at any time to be connected with an AARP staff person to share your question.

[00:11:25] And for the latest information, resources about the global coronavirus pandemic visit aarp.org/coronavirus. It's my pleasure to be joined today by my colleague, Jean Setzfand, AARP senior vice president of programs. Jean will help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

[00:11:46]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here for this very important conversation.

[00:11:49] Right. Now. Let's turn to your questions and please stay tuned throughout because after these live questions, we'll talk to more experts who can share advice and tips on caring for your loved ones during this time. Let's go ahead and take the first question. Who do we have there, Jean?

[00:12:06] All right. Our first call is coming from Nancy in New Jersey.

[00:12:10] Hey, Nancy, what's your question?

[00:12:13]Nancy:  Hi, my question is, if someone in your home has symptoms that warrant going to the hospital should someone go with them? I'm in my 70s my husband's in his 80s, we both have underlying health issues. And I was just wondering, I haven't heard anything on the news about that, any doctors speaking of that.

[00:12:34]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, can you answer that one?

[00:12:37]Ian Williams:  Yeah. So thanks. That's really a great question. This is really going to vary from place to place, and depending on the condition of the individuals. I think the idea here in large is, is we don't want people who are not sick to become exposed and potentially get sick from people who may be sick.

[00:12:57] So, practicing some of this social distancing we’re talking about is important. However, it's important if a person is sick, and they may need help and assistance, to get them to the health care setting where they need to, by all means, that's an important thing to do. Again, I think this goes back and stresses the importance of calling ahead and talking with that health care provider and explaining the situation that you might be in. And they can help provide the best advice to you about how to bring that person in for care, and potential actions you might take to protect yourself while you're doing that.

[00:13:30]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. Jean, who do we have next?

[00:13:34]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Hannah calling in from Texas.

[00:13:37]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Hannah. Go ahead with your question.

[00:13:40]Hannah:  Hi. My question is, my husband and I were in London in January. He was at a big conference and then he got sick on the way home, and then I got sick. And now that we read all the symptoms, they sound like coronavirus. Can we find out if we've had it?

[00:14:00]Bill Walsh:  Are you saying, are you sick now? Are you showing symptoms now?

[00:14:05]Hannah:  That was in January. We are way recovered, both of it.

[00:14:09]Bill Walsh:  So Dr. Williams, Hannah wants to find out if there's a way to find out if she had COVID-19.

[00:14:16]Ian Williams:  So at this point, there are no widely available tests to tell if you've been exposed in the past.

[00:14:24] I think the important point here iis that people, when they get ill, people get better usually within a week or two of the time they get sick. As far as we know, once people recover, the kind of mounting evidence suggests that they cannot get infected again. There's still some active research in this area to verify that.

[00:14:44] But at this point, there's not an easy test available to tell that you've recovered in the past. However, there's a number of research going on to try to develop a test to do just that. So at this point, there's not an easy way for you to figure that out.

[00:14:58]Bill Walsh:  What about the availability of tests, Dr. Williams? What can you say about that?

[00:15:05]Ian Williams:  Early on in this outbreak, testing was not as widely available as it is today. Even in the early days, testing was being directed by our state and local health department colleagues. So anyone who needed a test, who met criteria for traveling to places where there were a lot of disease or been in contact, were getting tested. Over the last several weeks, testing is becoming much more widely available.

[00:15:30] We're reaching a point now in the United States where people who want to get tested and are recommended being tested by their doctor should be able to get that, all across the country.

[00:15:39]Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:15:42]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Wendy from Maryland,

[00:15:45]Bill Walsh:  Hey Wendy, go ahead with your question.

[00:15:48]Wendy:  Hi. My husband and I have two kids and, with our two grandchildren, who live about 10 minutes from us. And they have self-quarantining themselves, the four of them, and we have been self-quarantining the two of us, for about 14 days — on Monday it'll be 14 days. After the 14 days, if everybody's still well, can we all get together and then continue to go to live in one house instead of two homes? What do you think about that?

[00:16:26] Ian Williams: Yes. So that question is going to vary by different parts of the country where you are. Different parts of the country are experiencing this outbreak in different ways. What I would recommend is actually follow the advice of what your state or local health department is recommending.

[00:16:45] Some places are requesting folks shelter in place and shelter in place for a longer period of time. So it's really going to be, following the advice of what your community is telling you about that.

[00:16:57]Bill Walsh:  OK, Jean who is our next caller?

[00:16:59]Jean Setzfand:  All right. Our next caller is Janet from Utah.

[00:17:03]Bill Walsh:  Hey Janet, go ahead with your question.

[00:17:05]Janet:  Yes, my husband and I are both over 65, and is it safe to go to the grocery store, and if so, how long does the virus stay on cardboard or plastic?

[00:17:19]Ian Williams:  Right. Those are very good questions. Our recommendation is that people should, especially those over 65, should limit their time that they go out and interact in the public. But understand that people need to be able to go to the grocery store and go about their daily life to get the resources they need in order to be able to live sustainably at home.

[00:17:43] So our recommendation is to limit the amount that you do this, especially if you're older or you might have an underlying health condition. And think about the time of day you need to do this, maybe not go when it's going to be as crowded so you can maintain the social distancing. There is evidence that this virus can live in the environment for a period of time.

[00:18:05] There's still some research trying to determine how long it can live in the environment. But I want to emphasize that this virus is actually easy to kill with common disinfectants. Hand washing is incredibly effective at preventing you from infecting yourself. So I think it's important if you're going to go out that use either hand sanitizer or wash your hands appropriately when you're coming back from these settings.

[00:18:30]Bill Walsh:  We've seen a lot of reports of grocery stores around the country setting special hours for older adults, particularly at night.

[00:18:38] Is there any particular advice you would give people though, if they are going to the grocery store? My own mother was telling me that her grocery store was a wiping down all the carts for the next patron before they came in, and I think they were also limiting the number of people in the store.

[00:18:56] What personal precautions should people take if they want to go to the grocery store?

[00:19:00]Ian Williams:  So these are all sensible things to do, everything everyday things we can do to protect ourselves, not only from COVID-19 but other respiratory infections, things like influenza. So in this specific situation, having these special hours for people who might be older can help us make sure we're maintaining appropriate social distancing.

[00:19:23] Again, helping clean carts and places that are high risk and are high touch surfaces are completely appropriate. But again I want to emphasize the need to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers if you don't have access to water after you've been in these settings where you might have to touch other high touch surfaces.

[00:19:44]Bill Walsh:  OK Jean, let’s take another question.

[00:19:46]Jean Setzfand:  All right, we actually have a question coming in from the YouTube channel. This question’s coming in from Nicholas and he's asking, is it safe to have seasonal maintenance performed on my AC system? I’m taking care of my 79-year-old father who has chronic pulmonary conditions.

[00:20:07]Ian Williams:  So yeah, that's an excellent question. It's going to vary from situation to situation. Again, we're recommending that folks try to maintain social distance from people, also try to limit their interaction and put off things that aren't absolutely necessary. So I think it's going to depend on how necessary that work is to be done in that situation. If it is critical that it needs to get done for the health and welfare of that individual, they need to make sure they're keeping appropriate social distance from the people that are doing the work.

[00:20:41] Again, trying to limit their interaction with them as much as possible. But understand that there needs to be maintenance and things done in order to maintain our overall safety and well-being. So if it's one of those things that's necessary to get done, I would try to do it appropriately.

[00:20:56]Bill Walsh:  It raises another question. We've seen a lot of calls into our AARP contact center, people are wondering about food deliveries and prescription deliveries. These seem to be very sensible things to do, but they're worried about having somebody from the outside bring something into their homes. What precautions should they take if they're having any outside services into their homes?

[00:21:18]Ian Williams:  Yes, that's an excellent question. And one I get one quite a bit, too. I think this idea of social distancing, and a number of the food and delivery services are already taking these, the opportunities of leaving the packages sort of outside so you're not actually having to interact. if you have to interact with people, make sure you're keeping appropriate social distance, at least six feet between people sort of appropriate. Again, and thinking carefully about if you're having to interact with folks, making sure that you're staying the appropriate distance from them.

[00:21:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. Just a reminder that we can take as, you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:22:02]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Kathy from New York.

[00:22:05]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Kathy.

[00:22:07]Kathy:  Yes, hi. My husband and I both over 65. We both have underlying problems, but thank God right now we're OK. But if we get any symptoms and we can't get through to our doctor, what should we do?

[00:22:25]Ian Williams:  That's a great question. I would call your local emergency department or 911. They can help advise you and route you to the right place to get care. Cause I think it's important, that you call ahead if you're getting sick, to make sure that you're getting to the right place to get the right care that you need.

[00:22:46]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, we've heard a lot about tele-health since the outbreak of the pandemic, and we know that Medicare now is paying for those tele-health visits. Are a lot of doctors participating in tele-health, and has it been easy for patients to use that as a way to connect with medical facilities?

[00:23:07]Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's actually a great question and something that's happening more and more. Many hospitals and health care providers are moving more towards this telehealth. It is a great way to do a couple of things. One is to help make sure that people can get access and information they need safely from their home and not have to actually go see the health care provider and potentially risk getting infected if they're not infected.

[00:23:32] But it's something that is being used more and more and will be an important thing, as we move forward. It is also this instance of using telehealth for people who are sick to connect people who might be sick with those who are not sick. Because it's important that we support people in our communities who are sick to stay connected with our loved ones as part of this. So using methods to make sure we are staying in contact. And hospitals are working with patients and families to make sure they can stay connected with loved ones who do get sick, and may need hospitalized.

[00:24:06]Bill Walsh:  OK. For the latest information and resources about coronavirus, visit aarp.org/coronavirus. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:24:21]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have a caller, Jim from California.

[00:24:28]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Jim. What's your question?

[00:24:32]Jim:  I've returned from Europe recently and that was about three quarters the way through self-quarantining because neither my wife or I presented any respiratory symptoms. However, shortly I got back, I had vomiting one evening, and severe diarrhea the next.

[00:24:48] I've treated those, I'm fine now, but I read recently that gastrointestinal symptoms could also be a symptom of the coronavirus. I'm just wondering, after I'd come out of quarantine, if I should still stay away from people. My local doctors and the hospital aren't interested in testing me unless I get the traditional symptoms.

[00:25:14]Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's a great question. There have been reports of people who have sort of a not typical presentation. I want to emphasize that there are a number of other reasons why you could have those presentations that are not related at all to this COVID-19 disease. That's why I think it's important to talk to your health care provider.

[00:25:33] Health care providers can provide appropriate guidance about who should get tested. But in general, for people who are either mildly symptomatic or having these atypical sort of presentations who may not get diagnosed, we know that within about three days of the time people get better, they're no longer infectious.

[00:25:52] So if you've gotten sick, usually three days after that time you've gotten better, you would not be infectious anymore. So I would say completing your quarantine period, making sure that you are staying home until at least three days after you feel better would be the important thing to protect those in your community and your love ones.

[00:26:15]Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:26:18]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Phyllis from Riverdale, Illinois.

[00:26:22]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Phyllis, what's your question?

[00:26:25]Phyllis:  OK. My question is that I'm over 65 years of age. I'm in a high-risk category, because I have underlying respiratory issues which are very serious. I have a mother that's 91 years of age.

[00:26:39] She's currently staying with my sister, quarantined there. But my sister is feeling not too good. I mean, in other words, it's not necessarily coronavirus. She's exhausted. I need to step in, It's only her and I. How safe or what, what can I do to protect my mother and myself, when I have to step in and intercede to care for my mom?

[00:27:00]Bill Walsh:  That's a tough one. Dr. Williams, do you have any advice there?

[00:27:03]Ian Williams:  Yeah, that's a very difficult situation, and I feel for you. So I think the important thing is if you are not feeling well, if you're running a fever and think you could actually have this, you need to basically not interact with her, with your other loved ones, if you can at all avoid it.

[00:27:19] Or if you have to, try to make sure that you are social distancing and really staying away from them. This again is a situation where we really want to try to protect those people that are the most vulnerable. And the way to do this is to try to isolated or separate people, even if it's in the household, to try to separate them from other people.

[00:27:39] But the important thing here is, is if you're sick and not feeling well, you need to stay away from those people that are the most vulnerable.

[00:27:46]Bill Walsh:  We've been getting a lot of questions like this because family caregivers face a difficult time in ordinary circumstances.

[00:27:54] And of course, we're not in ordinary circumstances anymore. One thing we've been advising them is to develop that care team even before their loved one gets sick. So whether it's a family member or a neighbor, just a friend, identify those daily tasks that the person needs and set out that plan very specifically, and do that before he gets sick. So if something does happen, that plan can be activated. and not on the fly.

[00:28:28]Ian Williams:  So, yeah, that's amazing advice and really good to think ahead. Again, do a little bit of planning about what you need to do and making sure you have the right plan in place as well as the food, the medication, so that you can be safe and be ready to protect your loved ones.

[00:28:44]Bill Walsh:  OK. And we're going to get to a lot more caregiving questions in just a moment. Just a reminder, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP and we're taking your questions today about coronavirus with key experts. Dr. Ian Williams from the CDC is hanging on the line. But before we get to more of your questions, we're going to bring in two experts to discuss what you need to know to best care for your loved ones during this pandemic.

[00:29:07] This is clearly an important discussion and based on your responses to the earlier poll, I can see a range of concerns. It looks like 53 percent are mainly concerned about ensuring those that I care for stay safe. That is your greatest concern followed by having adequate food, medicines and supplies.

[00:29:33] So those are significant concerns and seem to be felt widely. I'm just reminded, you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad. We'd like to welcome two additional guests to our conversation. Returning this week is administrator Lance Robertson. Administrator Robertson was appointed to serve as assistant secretary for aging and the administrator of the Administration for Community Living in 2017. His vision for ACL focuses on five pillars.

[00:30:09] Supporting families and caregivers, protecting rights and preventing abuse, connecting people to resources, expanding employment opportunities, and strengthening the aging and disability networks. Welcome back, Administrator Robertson. Thanks for your time.

[00:30:26]Lance Robertson:  Hey Bill. Thanks, happy to be here.

[00:30:29]Bill Walsh:  We’re also joined today by Donna Benton, Ph.D.

[00:30:33] She's the director of the University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center, as well as the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center. She has 30 years experience working with family caregivers in communities. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Benton

[00:30:51]Donna Benton:  thank you so much for inviting me today.

[00:30:54]Bill Walsh:  Right. Administrator Robertson, let's start with you. Because of illness and social distancing measures, some family caregivers are finding themselves unable to support their loved ones in the way they usually do. And I think we heard an example of that in the question just now. Other family members, friends and neighbors are being asked to step in and provide that assistance.

[00:31:15] We also know that some older adults are moving from long-term care facilities back to the community, and will be relying on family caregivers in a new way. What are some of the things people can do to get ready if they're being asked to take over the important role of family caregivers?

[00:31:31]Lance Robertson:  All right, Bill.

[00:31:34] Yes, and hello to all your callers. I am so grateful that AARP is putting on this tele-town hall. I think to keep it pretty simple, Bill, I would recommend three things. First of all, people need to be prepared. Secondly, they need to know their resources. And then, finally, they need to focus on also taking care of themselves.

[00:31:52] So let me very quickly unpackage that, if you don't mind. So I think when we're talking about being prepared, and you sort of touched on this just a few minutes ago, we can't stress enough the importance of developing a care plan. Communication is key, and obviously a good care plan sort of pushes that, and it helps people understand first and foremost, what is that care recipient or loved one going to need? What's their preference?

[00:32:18] We need to make sure that they're honored in those conversations. Then of course, those plans help you appreciate if additional care is needed. How is that going to be provided? Certainly if the health care professional that traditionally guides that care is unavailable, how can we make sure that something doesn't fall through the crack, and where's proper training needed?

[00:32:40] So the care plan really helps you work through some of those detailed care elements. But I think also a care plan can focus on a realistic timeline. You know, are we talking about the next week, two weeks, month? What are we looking at? I think it encourages families through that conversation to make sure that they appropriately stock up on medical supplies and nonperishable foods, things that they may need that can be in compliance with quarantine activities.

[00:33:07] Also it helps us assure that we are adhering to the management and treatment plans of that loved one. And then also, of course, with self-isolation, we have to be creative in ways that we can prevent boredom for everybody.

[00:33:19] We're spending a lot more time together than in some cases we're used to. So we need to work through that. And also, I think it can help us focus on just taking care of ourselves. And that's that third piece, Bill, is, how do we make sure that as caregivers, people don't experience burnout? It’s so important that they take the physical precautions, given the guidance from CDC to make sure they don't fall ill.

[00:33:41] But also just the taxes associated sometimes with caregiving can be challenging, and we have to make sure that we're taking care of ourselves. And then also I’ve got a stress, Bill, it's important that people have a backup plan.

[00:33:55] I think we all kind of forge ahead and sometimes fail to pause long enough to develop a backup plan. And I know amongst many other resources, I would point to AARP has a lot of free tools in this regard.

[00:34:07]Bill Walsh:  Thanks for mentioning that. At aarp.org/coronavirus you can find actionable information, like how to create a care plan, the questions to ask a nursing home or assisted living facility if your loved one is there.

[00:34:24] And ACL has some tremendous resources as well. In particular, the elder care locator, these are local resources which can be found at eldercare.acl.gov.

[00:34:38] Administrative Robertson, we talked a little bit about this last week, but it's still an issue. We're hearing so much about social isolation.

[00:34:46] It's a problem for older adults and family caregivers in the best of times. And we know that social isolation is bad for your health and just as bad as smoking. Social distancing is also important for flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it also creates even greater risks of social isolation.

[00:35:06] What can families and caregivers do?

[00:35:10]Lance Robertson:  Yeah. Actually, I think this issue of social isolation at present and in weeks ahead will become such a big issue. Certainly I think it was the BYU research that talked about the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day if you’re socially isolated.

[00:35:26] So this isn't something to turn a blind eye to. This is significant. And we know that caregiving, of course, at any time can be an isolating experience profoundly greater now. And living alone is very isolating, a lot of seniors now have been living alone, but now they're even quarantined and experiencing an even deeper level of isolation.

[00:35:47] So, it is so important that as we all help navigate through this COVID-19 that we're finding creative ways to stay connected with loved ones and making sure that we first and foremost tackle the social isolation epidemic. I just know on a personal level I have colleagues throughout the country who are older that I check on now every day.

[00:36:09] A gentleman from Montana I talk to every day, good friend of mine that works for us that's in his early 90s staying at home, but I'm checking on him regularly. So again, I think all of us can sort of take up that torch and help fight that, simply by using the telephone.

[00:36:24] We all know that there are many, many other technology tools out there, ways that people can interact through media. And all of that has value. And I think this is a time really to lean in and to make sure that if you just have a couple extra minutes that can mean the world, and making sure that people feel loved and checked on.

[00:36:44] And of course, that also allows us then to maybe address issues that we wouldn't have caught otherwise. So again, so many different ways that we encourage, Bill, for folks to just stay connected. And to reach out and to make sure that those older adults, particularly who are isolating, aren't doing so in a way that just further compounds their health situation.

[00:37:05]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much, Administrator Robertson. Callers, just a reminder, you can ask a question by pressing star three on your telephone keypad. Now, Dr. Benton, we'd appreciate your expertise. You are based in California where your governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order. California was first, but nearly one-third of the states now have followed suit.

[00:37:27] What can the rest of the country learn from California? And what additional responsibility has the state government taken to provide access to food and services, especially for people who are living on their own?

[00:37:40]Donna Benton:  I think that more and more states that we've noticed are doing some type of stay-at-home order. And I think with California the word has been, stay home, be safe, bend the curve. Everyone's talking about there’s that term bend the curve. And we want to flatten the curve and make it a little bit easier.

[00:38:04] What has happened on the meantime, if you look at our local counties and cities. Is that they stepped up and been listening to and holding town halls on a regular basis to find out what are some of those individual needs within communities that — probably if two people are talking about, it probably represents several thousand people having that issue.

[00:38:30] And I think that they've been very responsive, with saying how to check for your local food bank. Making sure that we have ongoing discussions about where supplies are, encouraging the stores to have these special hours so that older adults and their caregivers can get in and get the supplies they need.

[00:38:54] Encouraging people to check on your neighbors. Keeping the physical distance of course, but having ways of communicating with your neighbors and being creative. So I think that the fact that this occurred early in California and at different levels of the stay at home orders has really, I hope, really been helping us flatten the curve.

[00:39:21] But being informed, I mean, every day there's a town hall, there are meetings. There's a way to go online, television. Everything is there to keep the communication of lines open with our governmental agencies.

[00:39:37]Bill Walsh:  That's terrific. And it, proves the point how important these local networks are, especially the timeline.

[00:39:45] I'll give AARP a plug here. Just yesterday we launched our new website aarpcommunityconnections.org where people can put their zip code in and plug into local community resources. They can also ask for a call, if you're isolated or a caregiver, you just want to talk to someone, we're doing outbound calling to people who make that request.

[00:40:09] Yeah, it seems like California had to adjust to the situation quickly, but it looks like the rest of the country is having to learn some lessons as well.

[00:40:21]Donna Benton:  I want to point out that California is unique in the sense that we're a multicultural state and multiple languages, and they've been also very sensitive in using both at the governmental level multiple languages, always having ESL.

[00:40:43] And being able to reach out to communities and using our community networks that may work with specific cultural groups and using those communities to also get the word out. So we've really asked everyone to work together in California.

[00:41:05]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Benton, for many people, as you know, caregiving involves multiple generations and often can involve multiple generations under the same roof.

[00:41:15] What considerations do these caregivers need to take?

[00:41:20]Donna Benton:  We've talked about that, and I really appreciate the discussion from Lance earlier, but as we're living under one roof, I noticed in our poll, about 16 percent of the respondents are worried about strained relationships.

[00:41:35] And that's because we may not be used to having the children and the grandchildren and self, parents, all under the same roof, trying to care for each other at same time while keeping this physical distance. So in the home, we do have to make sure that we really are very careful about keeping all the surfaces clean, how we share, we may not share food in the same way and set the plates up differently.

[00:42:06] But also keeping activities that can still keep the generations together, for games and talks and watching movies. But having, again, to keep social distancing, so we may have to sit in separate rooms, even in the same house.

[00:42:24] Suddenly texting is OK in your own home, as there's always been the joke of like, you're sitting next to somebody and they're texting each other. Well, now we actually may have to do that.

[00:42:34]Bill Walsh:  That's right, who would have thought my teenagers are right. All right. Thank you very much. For those of you just joining our conversation, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and we're speaking with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration for Community Living, and the University of Southern California Family Caregiving Support enter.

[00:43:00] We're also taking your questions live. To ask a question anytime, press star 3. Let's go back and get to some of those live questions. Jean, who do you have on the line there for us?

[00:43:12]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Lori from Maryland.

[00:43:15]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Lorrie. Go ahead with your question.

[00:43:18]Lorrie:  Hi. My mother is 93 and she still lives in her home by herself. She has three different caregivers on 12 hours shifts on different days. And my family is very concerned about their whereabouts when they're not with my mother.

[00:43:37] When they're not on their shift. And I'm just very concerned if we, what we should do with this situation. And is this very safe?

[00:43:45] Bill Walsh: That's interesting, so concern about presumably these are paid caregivers who are coming in and looking after Lorrie’s mom. Dr. Benton, do you want to take that? And administrative Robertson, if you want to chime in, feel free to do that as well.

[00:44:01]Donna Benton:  I'll let Administrator Robinson go first because there are two things going on here. I think for your family, clearly you need the caregivers, and your mother really needs this help around the clock. So they'd have to take the precautions that any health care provider would be doing if you're working in a hospital or if you're working in a home, so that they may have to take those extra precautions.

[00:44:27] Particularly since, as you said, you don't know what they're doing and what's happening when they leave your mother's home. So, it's really taking all of those precautions in the home during the care and then making the calls and feeling comfortable asking questions. I know you don't want to sound rude and say, “Hey, anyone sick around you?” But knowing that if one of the three caregivers falls ill then having that backup plan available of who's going to step in for that third shift.

[00:45:04]Bill Walsh:  Well, let me just put a finer point on it. If Lorrie is wondering what question she should be asking the particular caregivers or the agency they work with, what kinds of questions you should be asking.

[00:45:18]Lance Robertson:  Yeah. I'm happy to jump in. This is Lance. I really would encourage Lorrie to reach out to the home health care agency, because this is helpful to know and reassuring. These professional agencies also are very in tune with how important it is that their workforce not only take good care of themselves, but are cautious to not infect or cause the people they're caring for to become ill.

[00:45:42] So I can tell you, this is a question we're getting pretty commonly, and our response has traditionally been that these health care companies are taking extraordinary measures to make sure that their in-home caregivers are taking all the right precautions, both for the people they serve and for themselves.

[00:46:01] But that doesn't mean that, Lorrie, you don't have a right to press that agency and say, can you walk me through the measures you’re taking, the training you're providing the rotation of the workers that you're having going into the homes. So often, we think that people are approaching this work maybe too casually.

[00:46:21] But I think what we're seeing now is a real resurgence and commitment amongst the workforce of knowing how important they are and how careful they need to be again for themselves and those they care for. I hope that that's reassuring to some degree, but I would still encourage Lorrie to not only press that home care agency.

[00:46:40] But then also if there's an opportunity for her to observe for herself or have somebody observe just to make sure that some of that's being complied with in full, that would probably be the best way to be comforted.

[00:46:52]Bill Walsh:  Thanks very much, Jean. Who's next?

[00:46:56] Jean Setzfand: Coming from Linda in Arizona.

[00:46:59] Linda, go ahead and ask the question.

[00:47:02]Linda:  Hello. My mother is in an independent living facility and they have just announced that they're going to go on a lockdown. They aren't allowing visitors in, they are going to be confined to their room with meals delivered. My question is, should I go get my mother and have her come to my house? Should I just rely on their care and what's happening?

[00:47:33] They haven't reported any cases in the facility. Kind of reaching out just to figure out what you recommend.

[00:47:44]Bill Walsh:  Administrator Robertson. Do you want to take that one?

[00:47:47]Lance Robertson:  Yeah, I can answer just from my perspective, but I would encourage Dr. Williams to chime in too as a clinician. My concern is, from what I just heard, that the environment she's in right now, it seems to be safe, and taking her out of that safe environment, even to a loved one's home, such as yours could enhance the risk.

[00:48:04] But again, Dr. Williams would be the best one to answer that question. I do know, again, when it comes to independent living communities, even assisted living communities, we are seeing more and more as a common practice now that those places are going into a lockdown mode just to provide the ultimate protection to the residents.

[00:48:24] Of course that's still case by case. People have individual freedoms. Families and residents have to sort of explore what they believe is the best case for them. Many of those variables can differ from person to person, resident to resident. If a resident is fairly frail, that obviously would prompt a different type of question.

[00:48:49] I think for a lot of folks that have been self-isolating, this isn't a big change in their daily routine. So there's not a one-size-fits-all sort of answer. I would, referring to Dr. Williams, his expertise and his colleagues at CDC, when it comes to relocating a senior, that's probably where they're best suited to answer the safety associated with that.

[00:49:13]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, do you want to chime in on that?

[00:49:15]Ian Williams:  Yeah, and I think you hit it exactly right, this is going to vary from situation to situation, and actually is going to vary from different parts of the country to different parts of the country.

[00:49:25] These are sort of personalized decisions where you're going to have to evaluate the risk and try to determine what the best solution here is. And these are incredibly difficult situations. It's better to think ahead rather than trying to be reactive.

[00:49:44] You're really going to have to customize these in a way that works best for you, your family and your loved ones. It's not a great answer, but it's the best way to address this on a case-by-case basis.

[00:50:00]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, that's a tough choice to have to confront. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

[00:50:07]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question on Facebook Live and this question is coming from Darlene. She's asking I’m 74 with asthma, I usually babysit great grandkids. My granddaughter is on two weeks of unpaid leave to take care of her son, who has the regular flu. What can I do to watch him as her job is getting more and more essential?

[00:50:32]Bill Walsh:  So it sounds like Darlene, who has asthma, is being asked to take care of her grandson who has flu symptoms. Dr. Williams, do you have any advice for her?

[00:50:47]Ian Williams:  These are difficult situations. The idea is to try to take the people that are ill and segregate them, put them in a different part of your house.

[00:51:00] Make sure you're doing appropriate hand washing, do appropriate cleaning and disinfection. And there's some guidance on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov that can tell you about cleaning and disinfection, caring for people in these sort of situations. The goal here is to try to limit your exposure to those people.

[00:51:19] But realize these are incredibly difficult situations where you need to care for a loved one. Try to do the best you can. Appropriate hand-washing, disinfection, those things are all critical, while maintaining care for those that sick and may have COVID-19.

[00:51:35] Bill Walsh: OK, Let's take another call. Who do you have on the line?

[00:51:39]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Cora from Los Angeles, California.

[00:51:43]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead Cora, what's your question?

[00:51:46]Cora:  I'm a senior and I recently had surgery for breast cancer, and I live alone. I was concerned about supplies and things like that and going out. I have a son, but he’s a senior also and he has medical problems, and I'm concerned about him going around finding things for me. so I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this situation because I'm not computer literate. So I don't have access to those things that you are offering in order to get what I need.

[00:52:33]Bill Walsh:  So Cora, is your main concern about getting medical supplies and food, is that the main concern right now?

[00:52:39]Cora:  Well, I had recently had breast cancer also, and I have a breathing problem, so.

[00:52:47] I have a variety of illnesses and I'm 87 years old, so I'm concerned about this virus and I'm concerned about taking care of myself in a situation where I'm not supposed to get out.

[00:53:10]Bill Walsh:  OK. There are a lot of different issues there. Administrator Robertson, I wonder if you wanted to talk about how Cora might plug into some local resources, it sounds like she doesn't have access to a computer.

[00:53:23]Lance Robertson:  Yeah, absolutely, Bill, thank you for an opportunity to visit with Cora and your listeners. I think the information I can share here should be incredibly helpful. So Cora, even if you don't have access to a computer, our best resource is a toll-free phone number, and it's the eldercare locator.

[00:53:45] And I'll repeat that for all, it's 1-800-677-1116. And I'll repeat that again here in a second. But the beauty though, Bill, of how centralized our network is, even though we offer a wide range of services, people can access information about all those services through this central number.

[00:54:10] So whether it's food or transportation or any other variety of services we offer, people can call this central number, which will connect them with the local area agency on aging that covers their area and really can serve as a navigator to help them connect with what resources are out there.

[00:54:28] Some of those resources and programs and services we offer directly. Other things that we're aware of can be found through that locator as well. So depending on the community and where Cora’s from, my suspicion is there will be a lot of different services that are out there even beyond what we provide through maybe faith-based groups, or civic organizations or city/county work.

[00:54:50] . So, hopefully Cora can find through this number — again, which is 1-800-677-1116 — hopefully Cora and other callers can find what they need. This covers the entire country, every county, every community, all across America.

[00:55:08]Bill Walsh:  Very good. And Dr. Benton, I know you're in Southern California. Do you have some words or advice for people in Cora’s situation?

[00:55:16]Donna Benton:  You know, I was going to give the eldercare locator phone number. In California, that will get you to services that are local. I think that if for Cora and for her son, who probably is concerned about how she's going to get things, a lot of the local stores and pharmacies are willing to deliver.

[00:55:41] And so they can leave things right at the doorstep, or her son can leave things on the doorstep so that they keep physical distance. But I think it is going to be very important to talk to your son, because he's probably just as worried about you being alone and not having what you need.

[00:56:02] And some of that is looking at, what do you have now? And then, what do you think you're going to run out of in a month so that maybe you can preplan and order things early enough in advance. But I do encourage you to make that call to the eldercare locator and find out what's local in your communities.

[00:56:23] A lot of the area agencies on aging are absolutely delivering meals and helping with medication and linking you to your local churches and places like that, a neighborhood availability of services.

[00:56:40]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Thanks very much for that. Jean, who's next on the line?

[00:56:45]Jean Setzfand:  We have Patrick from Virginia.

[00:56:48]Bill Walsh:  Patrick, go ahead with your question.

[00:56:50]Patrick:  Oh, good afternoon. The panel is recommending the creation of a care plan. Can you give some practical pointers on what should be in that plan, and especially how the caregiver can protect him or herself when there's just two of you. And as a follow-up question, while you’re sheltering at home and the walls are starting to come in on you, is there any reason not to take a car drive, just throw the cobwebs away?

[00:57:18]Bill Walsh:  OK, so some real-life concerns there from Patrick. Administrator Robertson, do you want to talk about that? You had talked about a care plan earlier.

[00:57:26]Lance Robertson:  Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Patrick. I'll certainly defer to Dr. Williams for the clinical part of your question of driving around, but I think that's very healthy to be able to do and safe to do. And, you know, we need that sunlight, the oxygen and all that sort of thing.

[00:57:41] But at care plans, there are so many great templates out there, Patrick. I referenced the AARP website earlier. You can even go on our website at acl.gov. There are so many different templates that you can populate with information, that at least gives you a great start to a care plan.

[00:58:00] Of course, all good care plans are going to be customized to the person receiving the care, and we highly encourage and recommend that you talk with that person as you develop the plan. So many families we know will have the caregiver or other members of the family begin filling up the plan, and sometimes they completely exclude the person who's receiving care.

[00:58:20] I would argue that has to be flipped, and the person receiving care needs to really weigh in. It covers things such as the sort of essential things that you need to have access to, whether that's certain types of foods or medications.

[00:58:34] Certainly it lists out who the care providers are primarily, who are your clinical supports for some of the questions and needs you may have, what type of direct care that individual has to have, whether or not it's straightforward or complex. So all of those things, Patrick, are sort of highlighted in templates that you can find on AARP’s website or our website or several others.

[00:59:01] Those are good guideposts for how the conversation needs to take place. And then of course, customized more specifically within what that care receiver and the family would like to see happen.

[00:59:13]Bill Walsh:  Yes. That's excellent advice. A couple of the things that we've noted, and I think Dr. Williams mentioned this earlier, is doing an inventory of what you've got on hand, food, dry goods, medical supplies. The CDC is suggesting having at least two weeks of those things, and also develop a communications plan. If you get sick and have to be isolated, who's going to be reaching out to you, or who's going to be reaching out to your loved one if, as a caregiver, you're not able to?

[00:59:44] Dr. Benton had also mentioned local resources, delivery services for prescription drugs or food. Those are increasingly common and they seem like they should be part of a care plan as well.

[00:59:59] Dr. Benton, Patrick had asked a question about self-care. Can you talk a little bit about that for caregivers?

[01:00:06]Donna Benton:  Absolutely. This is the time where we have to use our "Four Ms" towards self-care. And remember, we don't want to strain these relationships. So if we're sitting at home, I have what I'm calling the Four Ms, which is mail, music, movies and meals.

[01:00:24] In order to stay connected, you can use email and the old-fashioned mail, snail mail. This is a good time to pick up your music collection. You have music probably at home. You can fill your house with music from YouTube. Sometime music gives us a different feeling in our body and helps us feel good.

[01:00:54] This is a good time, when I say movies, not going out to theaters, but, finding some movies that make you laugh to get that stress and release. Don't turn on the TV and keep on the COVID-19 information 24/7, take some breaks. Be creative about meals and make sure that every meal is something that you're going to enjoy.

[01:01:17] But maybe, depending on your diet, have something that you really enjoy in that meal. So if it's a cupcake, you may have it delivered, two weeks from now you say, you know what, I'm going to have a cupcake delivered or I'm going to have a cake delivered to me.

[01:01:37] So you want to make sure you have respite there. I've noticed that there's more online yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes. So there's another M, mindfulness, to add to our M theme. if you keep in mind that you can do things to keep yourself energized, relaxed, and humor, I think this will help us through these stressful times.

[01:02:10]Bill Walsh:  For the latest information, resources about coronavirus, visit aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have some exercise videos out there. You can tee them up and do some exercises right in your own home. Jean who do we have next on the call-in line?

[01:02:29]Jean Setzfand:  We have Patty calling in from California.

[01:02:32]Bill Walsh:  Patty, go ahead with your question.

[01:02:35]Patty:  Hi. My brother is, due for cancer surgery in about a week and a half. I'm 69. My original plan was that I would take him there, be with him in the hospital and do some caretaking afterwards. I don't know, that's probably not a great option. My son can step in, he's 34. But my question is — I know the hospital will set up some guidelines about who can be there and who can't and all that — in transporting him to and from the hospital and then post-surgery at home, what kind of precautions would you recommend for whoever does the caretaking and the transportation? Should they be wearing masks, gloves? What would you recommend? We want to protect him from us and us from anything he might catch at the hospital.

[01:03:33]Bill Walsh:  Sure. Dr. Williams, do you want to address that one?

[01:03:38]Ian Williams:  I'm going to go back to some of the things I said earlier. This is sort of a on a case-by-case basis. It depends on the situation and the setting the care’s being administered in. if the care is in a hospital setting, following the guidelines of the folks in the hospital.

[01:03:57] Hospitals are customizing care in different ways, depending on their current capacity. For people aren't sick, don't go into a health care setting and actually become sick. A lot of it is following sensible precautions about social distancing, making sure that you're washing your hands appropriately, are all keys to make sure that people who are not ill don't get ill.

[01:04:28]Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, who's our next caller?

[01:04:32]Jean Setzfand:  We have a call from Ruth in Indiana.

[01:04:34]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Hey Ruth, go ahead with your question.

[01:04:37]Ruth:  Yes. Part of my question had been answered by another caller about in-home care, and I have pushed mine back a little because I'm afraid that they may bring in something to my husband who is 80 and a half and he has dementia and heart disease, and if he got this I think it would finish him off.

[01:05:00] So I'm very careful about that because they don't wear a mask, and they wear gloves if you provide them yourself, which I have the gloves, but I don't have any mask and they don't furnish them from the in-home care company. But I did get part of that answer on the previous caller.

[01:05:20] Also I wanted to know, I have groceries delivered from a supermarket and I go to Walgreens, which is a block from me, if I need other things. Should I wash off the containers and cans or bottles and things before I put them in the refrigerator?

[01:05:39]Bill Walsh:  OK. So two questions there. One about a grocery delivery, but there was also a question I heard Ruth say that she had pushed off the in-home care because of concerns about infecting her home.

[01:05:52] We can address both of those questions. Dr. Williams, do you want to address the one about grocery deliveries first?

[01:06:01]Ian Williams:  Yeah. Right now there is not evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is being spread by contact with cans and boxes and environmental surfaces that you would pick up in the grocery store.

[01:06:20] The way this infection is spread is from infected droplets, people who cough. There could be a theoretic risk that some of these droplets could land on surfaces and they might persist for a while, but there is no evidence that this is being spread through those means.

[01:06:36] I think some of this comes back to sensible precautions that we would do every day. There's not currently a need or a recommendation to wash cans and boxes and things like that because they're unlikely to have somebody who's coughed on them and gotten secretions on them. However I do want to emphasize the importance of your personal hand-washing.

[01:06:54] If you've been out and you've touched surfaces other people might've touched, like shopping carts , it's important to use hand sanitizer if you've got it. Hand washing is always the best solution, but hand sanitization is a way to lower your risk of potentially getting infected.

[01:07:13]Bill Walsh:  OK. Administrator Robertson or Dr. Benton, did you want to address the in-home care issue?

[01:07:25]Donna Benton:  Because most people are concerned about someone bringing something in from the outside, if you're using a home health agency, you can ask them what their protocols are. If you have a private person that you're paying, making sure that they follow the hand washing procedures and everything that's set up in your home as they're coming in to help you.

[01:08:00]Bill Walsh:  All right. Go ahead Administrator Robertson.

[01:08:09]Lance Robertson:  If there's a concern there, safety is always the best path to travel. I do think a lot of home health agencies are very tuned in to what they're going to have to do.

[01:08:22] I do think that there's some variances across the country, but for all callers and all people in a situation such as this, I would definitely hammer home for the health care agency, what are the protocols, what supplies are they providing their own workers. And essentially the question of how are you going to make sure my loved one, the person you're caring for, has a super low risk of contracting something from the workers? I think that's a very fair question to ask.

[01:08:48] Bill Walsh: Yeah. We're obviously combating the coronavirus, but we're combating fear and anxiety as well. We've been seeing a lot of questions like this from caregivers. We are telling people this is a time to be that strong advocate for your loved one, whether they're in a nursing home or assisted living or like Ruth, you have in-home care.

[01:09:14] If you've got concerns, raise them. Like Administrative Robertson was saying, many of the facilities and services are taking extra precautions to make sure that they're developing safe and healthy services. But maybe we're in that zone of trust, but verify. And it's important to be an advocate for your loved one.

[01:09:36] OK. Jean, who's next on the line?

[01:09:39]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Barry from an 814 area code.

[01:09:44]Bill Walsh:  OK Barry, go ahead.

[01:09:44]Barry:  Yeah. I'll just explain my situation. There's like two main questions. I am 54. I am on disability. I had a traumatic brain injury. I do have some health issues. I have asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure.

[01:10:05] So I feel like with my age, I probably will be OK to recover. But I'm wondering, this is one of the questions, I heard something about having the asthma, the fibrosis of the lungs, like if you could explain that. Somebody said if you wait too long to get to the hospital, it's too late because of that.

[01:10:26] And the other question is related to, if I get that, what do I do with mum? She's done some respite stays with hospice and I know you can pay like an extra day or so, they'll do that. But I don't know if they would take her if I was infected. And the other question is, what if she gets infected?

[01:10:49] I'm the only caregiver. I have one lady that comes in at night sometimes and helps. She's 75 so I wouldn't want her to be exposed. and I don't know if hospice, if that lady would come if we’re exposed. So do I send her to the hospital or just both of us stay and shelter in place and hope for the best.

[01:11:09] I know there’s lots of stuff there. But that's my two main questions. What's the fibrosis and what do I do if she gets it, what do I do if I get it?

[01:11:17]Bill Walsh:  OK, thanks for the call, Barry. Let's start with the medical question. Dr. Williams, do you want to address the one about fibrosis of the lungs?

[01:11:24]Ian Williams:  Yeah, I'll start in very simply and say this is an incredibly complicated situation you're in and really there are no easy answers.

[01:11:31] But one of the things I can say is we know that people who have underlying medical conditions and have existing conditions that may affect their breathing, this disease can affect them worse and make them sicker than other people. So what I would say is, if you're having difficulty breathing, if you have what you think are the signs and symptoms of this disease, which are fever, difficulty breathing, things you would see with influenza, flu symptoms, I would call your health care provider immediately, especially if you're having difficulty breathing because there are things people can do to provide you either medications or get you to a place where they can have a higher level of care to help you through breathing. So reach out early, especially if you know you have one of these underlying conditions.

[01:12:21]Bill Walsh:  OK. And Administrator Robertson, his second question, it sounded like it had a lot to do with caregiving. He's a caregiver for his mom, and it sounds like he has a little bit of help, but that he's the main person. He's concerned, what happens if she gets sick? What happens if he does?

[01:12:37]Lance Robertson:  Yeah. I think there's a lot going on. My heart goes out to you. I know you need to be safe and your exposure with your mother, who is quite a bit older, but then your own health care conditions are presenting you in a compromised state. It might be good to begin supporting yourself with what is out there to help you.

[01:12:59] I would direct you to the eldercare locator, those area agencies on aging. And by the way, we also are in charge at the federal level of programs for people with disabilities. As one example, we do run the TBI program. This will help. So I think there are lots of intersections maybe where we can help Barry, but I would direct you for local services, to that elder care locator and begin asking that same question of, hey, what's out there that I can either maybe have access to now or know what's available with a phone call should I need it?

[01:13:35] So often it's about advanced planning and just having those conversations in advance and just being ready. Certain things, it's great to know about, even if you never have to pull the trigger.

[01:13:44] For community-based resources, all of that can be found on the eldercare locator.

[01:13:48]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. And that number again is 1-800-677-1116. Jean, who's next on the line.

[01:13:58]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Linda calling in from Connecticut.

[01:14:01]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Linda, go ahead with your question.

[01:14:03]Linda:  My question is, I just got a call from my mother's nursing home this morning that they got their first case of the COVID-19.

[01:14:13] As a family advocate, is there anything that we can do to protect my mother, or what should we be doing, if anything?

[01:14:22]Bill Walsh:  You're presumably leaving her in the facility? Are you asking whether you should remove her?

[01:14:28]Linda:  That’s pretty much what I’m asking.

[01:14:30]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Williams, do you want to answer that and maybe the other two guests can also chime in.

[01:14:39]Ian Williams:  Yeah, I'd be happy to start. These are incredibly difficult situations and they really need to be customized on a case-by-case basis. I would make sure you're talking closely with the care setting she's in, understanding what guidance and recommendation they're given to you.

[01:14:59] We understand that this is a situation that's occurring in many of these settings across the United States. Many of these settings actually have plans in place for how to deal with when a case is diagnosed within the community. So it would be important to reach out to them and understand what the plan they are taking in order to protect your loved one in that setting.

[01:15:20] And then you have to assess whether you believe that plan is sufficient to protect the person in place or whether you think there's another alternative plan that might be more appropriate. I'll turn it over to the other speakers for additional comments.

[01:15:33]Donna Benton:  I would say if your mother stays there, she might be used to being able to move more freely throughout the facility.

[01:15:46] It's real important for you to stay in contact with her and talk to the facility about how they're going to help make that happen for you and your family. I don't know if she uses a cellphone, but more frequent calls to her, from the facility, they may have laptops or iPads that they can take into the room so that you can have some visual contact with her.

[01:16:14] I think that's also going to be important as she stays there, because they may not have as many group activities. Many times nursing homes have stopped that, and they're doing room-to-room activities. So making sure that you stay in communication with your mother, I know this is really very challenging, difficult times.

[01:16:35] But as you've heard, there are steps that you can take, but it's always going to be anxiety provoking.

[01:16:47]Lance Robertson:  I want to jump in because this does touch long term care facilities, which we’re partially responsible for at ACL. But, you know, Linda, that situation is tough. And I think what we all want to commit to is, even though now some of the protocols may shift for that nursing home, we need to all make sure that the quality of care that's expected remains intact.

[01:17:10] Dr. Williams has excellent advice on whether or not you decide to leave your mother there or take her to your home. And then Dr. Benton referenced again, if she stays, what should that look like? And that's where our resources could be helpful to you, because every nursing home has an ombudsman, and that individual their sole responsibility is to ensure the quality of care remains at a level that it should be.

[01:17:36] And I believe nursing homes are committed to that. I'm always careful. I don't want you to presume care may get worse under a highly quarantined situation, but I would make sure.

[01:17:46] And be in regular contact with your ombudsman that covers that particular nursing facility, and that individual as your surrogate can help you make sure that all the different access to care happens for your mother. You can access the ombudsmen through the eldercare locator.

[01:18:08] We also have a website that is pretty easy to remember. It's just ltc.ombudsman.org. These are trained professionals who can make sure that the quality care remains at a level that is expected in nursing homes, particularly under conditions like this where things pivot a bit.

[01:18:29]Bill Walsh:  Just following up on that, Dr. Williams, you had given the advice to Linda about asking those questions and finding out what the plan is. I guess if I were making that call, I wouldn't know whether the nursing home plan is a good one or not. So what things should she be looking out for when she makes that call?

[01:18:47] What steps should she really make sure that nursing home is taking to protect her mom?

[01:18:57]Ian Williams:  That's a great question. We've been telling nursing homes and places that care for people who may have underlying conditions to have plans in place to be ready to execute them for a number of weeks now.

[01:19:08] And those plans are going to look different in different places, depending on the setting. They should be able to explain to you in relatively plain language what they are doing to protect your loved ones, what steps they are taking.

[01:19:21] Those will look like things like making sure that anybody who is ill can be isolated from the rest of the community, still receive a level of care they might need, and really separate them from other folks within the community. A number of these settings have stopped community gatherings, cafeteria style seating, those sort of things.

[01:19:46] Understanding how they're going to change now that — if they haven't already started doing this thing — how does this situation change? And it should make sense to you that they are taking the appropriate level of care to protect your loved ones.

[01:19:57]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. We have time for a couple more questions. Jean, who's on the line next?

[01:20:03]Jean Setzfand:  All right. I'm actually going to take one from the YouTube channel, and we're seeing quite a few questions related to that. So this one's coming from Bellativa, who's asking if everyone wears masks, DIY type or N95. Wouldn't it flatten the curve?

[01:20:21] You wouldn't overwhelm your immune system and give your immune system time to catch up instead of with one blast exposure.

[01:20:30]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Williams, do you want to take that, the mask question?

[01:20:35]Ian Williams:  This is a question I get asked quite frequently by people. Understanding how masks work is an important part of understanding how this answer is.

[01:20:45] Surgical masks really don't protect you from getting sick. The reason surgeons and medical care professionals wear them is to keep them from making you sick. So the mask actually keeps those droplets inside the mask, but they actually don't do a great job of keeping things from the outside getting in.

[01:21:05] We recommend people who are sick and need to get care to think about wearing masks because it will keep them from infecting other people. Really the underlying piece here too is that there is a tremendous need to keep those masks, especially the ones that are higher level protection — these are sometimes called N95 masks — available for our health care providers, because those are the ones who are having to care for the very sick people.

[01:21:32] They're wearing these higher level masks so they can go in and do the care that's needed. Some of this is about preserving those masks and this personal protective equipment for our health care communities because we don't want our health care providers — who have to be able to provide care for sick people — to get sick themselves.

[01:21:50]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much, Doctor. Jean, who's next on the line?

[01:21:54]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Dorothy from Virginia.

[01:21:58]Bill Walsh:  Hey Dorothy, go ahead with your call.

[01:22:01]Dorothy:  Hello. I just called a nursing home, a local nursing home, and I asked if I could send letters to the patients and also do FaceTime or Skype. And they basically said, no, but I can be a volunteer and I am 65.

[01:22:30] Is that the current trend of all nursing homes?

[01:22:36]Bill Walsh:  Administrator Robinson, do you want to take that?

[01:22:39]Lance Robertson:  Yeah. Happy to reassure everyone that it's actually not the typical response we're hearing from nursing homes across the country. So, Dorothy, I'm sorry that the Virginia facility has responded in that way. Although I'll be honest, I don't know what their specific protocols may look like.

[01:22:55] However, I would encourage you to reach out to the local long-term care ombudsman because that individual will know what's appropriate and what feels inappropriate. Limiting any kind of contact though, just at face value seems appropriate.

[01:23:12] But I would be careful to overstep my bounds without consulting the ombudsman. If you call the eldercare locator number and ask for the ombudsman that covers that particular facility, they will be able to connect you and that individual should be able to break through any sort of resistance you're getting because they're authorized to do so.

[01:23:38] If there are some problems that need to be corrected, that ombudsman is absolutely equipped to do that. If the protocols in place for that nursing home for various reasons are sensible, then the ombudsman will be honest and share that with you as well. I think for any caller or any listener having a similar experience to Dorothy, these ombudsman are incredibly powerful advocates who are highly committed to doing great work.

[01:24:03] And they would love to hear from you if you're having any experiences that you might deem questionable.

[01:24:08]Bill Walsh:  Maybe you can say a little bit more about that. For our listeners who haven't heard about the ombudsman program, these folks do not work for the nursing home facility themselves. Who do they work for?

[01:24:18] Who do they answer to, and how much autonomy and influence do they have?

[01:24:25]Lance Robertson:  Without getting too deep into the weeds, these are well-trained individuals, most of whom are volunteers. There are some paid staff in every state that's overseeing the volunteer cadre. But these professionals by law have access to nursing homes to make sure that the quality of care is where it needs to be.

[01:24:50] This is a different environment. I want to be clear that that doesn't mean our ombudsmen are going into nursing homes, because I think by and large, we would all question whether or not that's a safe thing to do. However, most of them now have protocols in place where they can really monitor and be able to assure that quality is where it needs to be.

[01:25:10] They are there to be on behalf of a family member, that representative to make sure that the resident is receiving the care that they need. These individuals are funded through Older Americans Act dollars, which comes through our federal agency, but these are not federal employees.

[01:25:30] The supervisors that are paid staff can be state employees, they can also work for an independent agency that's contracted with, but these individuals exist across the entire country, and every nursing facility has a designated ombudsman. So any caller should feel assured that there is somebody there that can represent their needs for the family member in that nursing home.

[01:25:53] Even if they're going through a situation like Dorothy's where it feels like they're sort of being blocked out, that's not the sort of thing that most of us would support. There are safe ways for us to be able to be in communication with our loved one. And being isolated doesn't mean that you're shut off from the world.

[01:26:13]Bill Walsh:  That's right. Thank you very much for that. And the eldercare locator, we've said a couple of times, but you can't say it enough, you can reach it at 800-677-1116. OK. Dr. Williams, Administrator Robertson, and Dr. Benton, any closing thoughts or recommendations, what AARP members should understand most from our conversation today?

[01:26:37] Dr. Williams, do you want to lead us off?

[01:26:41]Ian Williams:  Yeah. I want to say thank you and thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today. This is an incredibly challenging time for you and our communities here in the United States. I want to let you know that folks are here to support you. There's a number of good guidance and advice out there for folks who have access to the internet.

[01:26:58] Www.cdc.gov has good advice on how to take care of your health and support you through this. A number of guidances, especially focused on folks who are in retirement communities in independent living on how to appropriately sanitize, wash your hands. We'll, we'll keep working with you and, as a community, we know we'll get through this.

[01:27:20]Bill Walsh:  OK, Administrator Robertson. Do you have any closing thoughts?

[01:27:24]Lance Robertson:  Absolutely. I'm grateful for the work of people like Dr. Williams and CDC. I can tell you that from a whole of government response, listeners should be very proud of what I know the federal government's working diligently to do in response to COVID-19.

[01:27:40] Like all emergencies, really the response sequence is supposed to be locally executed, state supported, state managed and federally supported. So we're doing all we can to support those states who are managing local-level execution. I would say one thing, that we all need to become a champion.

[01:28:06] So it's imperative that the information you've heard today you take and share with others. Hopefully for every caller, this is information that can share with many other folks. Certainly the resource information that we provided, that's an easy thing to share. And then for the caregivers, many are on the line, take care of yourselves. Thanks, Bill.

[01:28:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. And Dr. Benton, any closing thoughts?

[01:28:29]Donna Benton:  Yeah, I just want to say, thank you. And also for all of us as family caregivers and your being advocates, you’re on this phone call and as he said, share this information.

[01:28:43] And also remember this is a time where we're keeping physical distance, but that doesn't mean that we aren't going to be socially connected and we're doing this social connections through continuing to talk to each other and continuing to give encouragement and love and keeping a sense of humor.

[01:29:03] And taking that time for yourself when you can and your family as you're all under one roof. Taking time to listen to music, do movies, be creative with yourself and find ways to relax, and manage your stress. I think this will help us get through this entire crisis, as a community, as a family and as a country.

[01:29:30]Bill Walsh:  Thank you very much. Well said, and thanks to each of you for answering our questions. And thank you our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in discussion. If your question was not addressed, please go aarp.org/coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans from more than 60 years.

[01:29:56] In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, will be available tomorrow, March 27, and can be found aarp.org/coronavirus.

[01:30:22] Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. There you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something today that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune into our next AARP tele-town hall on Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m. Eastern.

[01:30:46] Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

BILL WALSH: Hola, soy Bill Walsh, vicepresidente de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida

a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Contamos con expertos líderes con nosotros para analizar cómo puede mantenerse saludable e informado. Y abordaremos sus preguntas en vivo. AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores en EE.UU. durante más de 60 años. Ante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP está proporcionando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan, a protegerse y prevenir la propagación del virus. Hoy preguntaremos a los expertos

cómo apoyar a los seres queridos que necesitan atención, cómo acceder a los recursos locales y cómo lidiar con el estrés y la ansiedad que sienten usted, su familia, amigos y vecinos.

Si participó en una de nuestras teleasambleas, sabe que este es un programa similar a entrevistas por radio y tiene la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Si desea hacer una pregunta sobre el impacto de la pandemia de coronavirus, presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse a un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta, y lo colocará en espera para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3. Pero antes de comenzar nuestra conversación, necesitamos saber más sobre ustedes. Tómese un momento para decirnos, ¿cuál es su mayor preocupación relacionada con el cuidado de amigos y familiares durante la pandemia de coronavirus? Presione 1 en el teclado de su teléfono si su mayor preocupación es asegurarse de que sus seres queridos estén seguros. Presione 2 si su mayor preocupación es lidiar con una mayor carga financiera. Presione 3 si su mayor preocupación es forzar las relaciones personales. Y presione 4 si su mayor preocupación es tener los alimentos, medicamentos y suministros adecuados. ¿Cuál es su mayor preocupación relacionada con el cuidado de amigos y familiares durante la pandemia de coronavirus? Presione 1 si es asegurarse de que sus seres queridos estén seguros, 2 si es lidiar con una mayor carga financiera, 3 forzar las relaciones personales y 4 tener alimentos, medicamentos y suministros adecuados.

Hola. Si recién se une, soy Bill Walsh de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estamos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3. Hoy tenemos invitados muy distinguidos. El Dr. Ian Williams es Jefe de la División de Respuesta y Prevención de Brotes en los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, CDC. Lance Robertson, subsecretario para Envejecimiento y administrador de la Administración para la Vida Comunitaria.

Y la Dra. Donna Benton, directora del Centro de Apoyo al Cuidado Familiar de University of Southern California.

AARP ha organizado esta teleasamblea para ayudarlo a acceder a información sobre el coronavirus.

Si bien vemos un papel importante para AARP en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el coronavirus, debe tener en cuenta que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud son

los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades.  Los puede acceder en

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. También puede obtener más información sobre el coronavirus y los adultos mayores a través de la Administración para la vida comunitaria en www.acl.gov/covid-19. Y para encontrar recursos locales, puede visitar www.eldercare.acl.gov.

Este evento está siendo grabando y podrá acceder a la grabación en www.aarp.org/coronavirus

24 horas después del evento. Ahora comencemos con nuestro primer invitado.

Hoy nos acompaña Ian Williams, Ph.D., Jefe de la División de Prevención y Respuesta a Brotes de los CDC.

El Dr. Williams ha estado en los CDC desde 1994 y ha estado involucrado en varias investigaciones sobre brotes. Gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Dr. Williams.

IAN WILLIAMS: Gracias, me alegro de estar aquí.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Bueno, comencemos. Estamos en un entorno que cambia rápidamente. ¿Puede decirles a nuestros oyentes la información más reciente sobre la propagación de la pandemia

y qué más puede hacer cada uno de ellos para mantenerse a salvo?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, gracias. Gracias por la invitación para hablar aquí hoy. Esta es una situación

que evoluciona rápidamente, y entiendo que es un momento difícil para todos nosotros. Y algunas de las noticias que pueden haber estado viendo son bastante alarmantes. Es importante saber que

hay pasos que puede seguir para proteger su salud y proteger la salud de su familia, sus amigos

y su comunidad. Vamos a hablar sobre algunos de esos pasos hoy.

En Estados Unidos, en los 50 estados, más el Distrito de Columbia y la ciudad de Nueva York, se han reportado más de 60,000 casos y, lamentablemente, más de 1,000 muertes. En todo el mundo se han reportado más de 400,000 casos. Y lamentablemente, esperamos que más casos ocurran y sean reportados. Quiero dejar en claro que este aumento no es solo el resultado de una mayor cantidad de pruebas. Como hemos estado diciendo durante semanas, esperamos que continúen ocurriendo más y más casos. Muchas comunidades en Estados Unidos ya han comenzado a tomar medidas agresivas en sus comunidades para ayudar a disminuir el impacto de esta epidemia que ocurre en Estados Unidos

y en todo el mundo.

Quiero enfatizar que diferentes comunidades están tomando diferentes acciones en diferentes lugares para hacer lo que llamamos "aplanar la curva". Lo que quiero decir con eso, es una expresión epidemiológica que puede haber sido desconocida para las personas incluso hace unas pocas

semanas, pero en realidad, es la idea de aprender cómo disminuir el impacto en la comunidad a partir de que las personas tomen medidas para protegerse a sí mismas, a sus familias y sus amigos.

Lo que está sucediendo es que, en todo el país, las personas, las familias, las escuelas y

las empresas se están adaptando a esta nueva realidad en la que nos enfocamos en reducir realmente el impacto que el virus tendrá en nosotros colectivamente. Un par de cosas que decir

sobre este virus, y lo que sabemos al respecto y lo que podemos hacer para ayudar a protegernos. Este nuevo virus se propaga principalmente a través de las secreciones respiratorias. Estas son pequeñas

gotas que uno produce cuando tose o estornuda, que pueden caer sobre otra persona u otras superficies.

Debido a esto, y al hecho de que todavía no existe una vacuna o tratamiento aprobado para esta enfermedad, las intervenciones comunitarias para promover el distanciamiento social son esenciales para retrasar la propagación de este nuevo virus. Además, la evidencia de la mayoría de los países muestra que los adultos mayores y las personas de cualquier edad que tienen trastornos de salud subyacentes graves, tienen un mayor riesgo de contraer una enfermedad grave. Datos recientes de los CDC y de todo el mundo muestran que las personas mayores de 65 años, y especialmente las mayores de 85 años, pueden estar en mayor riesgo, así como las personas que tienen enfermedades médicas subyacentes que pueden suprimir su sistema inmunológico.

Por lo tanto, es muy importante seguir los pasos que los funcionarios del departamento de salud locales y estatales y los funcionarios del Gobierno están publicando sobre el distanciamiento social. El distanciamiento social es la idea de asegurarnos de que estamos disminuyendo la propagación del virus para protegerse usted, al sistema de salud y a las personas que corren un mayor riesgo de infección. Para protegerse usted específicamente, hay varios pasos que puede seguir. Algunos de estos son, como mencioné, el distanciamiento social, que es realmente esta idea de mantener distancia entre usted y los demás, y mantenerse alejado de las personas que están enfermas. También recomendamos que las personas eviten las multitudes tanto como sea posible, que se queden

en casa tanto como sea posible, para evitar el riesgo de exposición y que se aseguren de tener

suficientes alimentos y medicamentos a mano durante un período prolongado de tiempo. Le recomendamos que tenga alimentos para al menos 2 semanas, y asegúrese de tener al menos 30 días de medicamentos.

Quiero terminar diciendo que el sitio web de los CDC tiene una buena cantidad de información que puede ayudarlo a aprender cómo protegerse y proteger a su familia, incluida la orientación para las comunidades de jubilados y la vida independiente.

BILL WALSH: Correcto. Y ese sitio web es www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Quería preguntarle sobre las pruebas. Las directivas que recibimos de los líderes está cambiando rápidamente, pasando de hacerse una prueba, a guardar las pruebas para profesionales médicos. Puede ser un poco confuso. Si alguien tiene síntomas, como fiebre y tos, o está cuidando a alguien que los tiene, ¿qué pasos deben seguir? ¿Y cuándo deberían hacerse la prueba?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, estas son excelentes preguntas que recibo todos los días. Y creo que el punto importante aquí es asegurarse de hablar con su médico y su proveedor de atención médica. Están en el mejor lugar para evaluar la necesidad de una prueba y la necesidad de atención médica urgente. Sin embargo, es importante asegurarse de llamar con anticipación y hablar con su proveedor de atención médica antes de ir a buscar atención médica porque, en realidad, hay dos razones.

Una es asegurarse de que cuando vaya, lo envíen al lugar correcto para recibir el tipo correcto de atención que pueda necesitar y las pruebas según corresponda. Pero también, no queremos que admitan a personas que estén levemente enfermas, que en realidad no tienen esta enfermedad, y que puedan infectarse con otras personas que están allí buscando atención también. Por lo tanto, el consejo aquí es, siempre llame con anticipación y hable con su médico, y busque atención

médica como le aconsejen.

BILL WALSH: Bueno, muy bien. Mientras estamos en el tema de las pruebas, queremos proporcionar rápidamente una alerta sobre fraude de coronavirus. El Departamento de Justicia ha compartido que los estafadores han vuelto a aparecer y ahora venden pruebas falsas de coronavirus. El Departamento de Justicia recomienda tener cuidado con cualquier persona que ofrezca pruebas de coronavirus y solicite pagos por transferencia bancaria, efectivo, tarjeta de regalo o por correo. Informe cualquier sospecha de fraude llamando a la línea directa del Centro Nacional contra Fraudes

en Desastres al 1-866-720-5721.

Es hora de abordar sus preguntas con el Dr. Williams. Presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono en cualquier momento para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta.

Y para obtener los últimos recursos de información sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, visite

www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Es un placer estar hoy acompañado por mi colega Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta senior de Programas de AARP. Jean ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenida Jean.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí para esta conversación tan importante.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Ahora pasemos a sus preguntas. Y manténgase atento porque después de estas preguntas en vivo, hablaremos con más expertos que pueden compartir consejos y sugerencias sobre el cuidado de sus seres queridos durante este tiempo. Comencemos con la primera pregunta. ¿A quién tenemos, Jean?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, nuestra primera llamada proviene de Nancy en Nueva Jersey.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Nancy. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

NANCY: Hola. Mi pregunta es, si alguien en su hogar tiene síntomas que justifican ir al hospital, ¿alguien debería ir con ellos? Tengo 70 años, mi esposo tiene 80 años, ambos tenemos problemas de salud subyacentes. Y me preguntaba… no he escuchado nada en las noticias sobre eso, ningún médico habla de eso.

BILL WALSH: Dr. Williams, ¿puede responder?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, creo que esa es una buena pregunta. Esto realmente va a variar de un lugar a otro, y depende del estado de salud de los individuos. Creo que la idea aquí en general es que no queremos que las personas que no están enfermas se expongan y se enfermen de personas que están enfermas o

que pueden estar enfermas. Entonces, practicar algo del distanciamiento social del que estamos hablando, es importante. Sin embargo, es importante, si una persona está enferma y puede necesitar ayuda y asistencia, llevarla al entorno de atención médica cuando lo necesite. Por supuesto, eso es algo importante.

Una vez más, creo que esto enfatiza la importancia de llamar con anticipación y hablar con ese proveedor de atención médica y explicarle la situación en la que podría estar. Y pueden brindarle el mejor consejo sobre cómo llevar a esa persona a recibir atención, y posibles acciones que podría tomar para protegerse mientras lo hace.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo, muchas gracias. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Hannah llamando desde Texas.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Hannah. Adelante con tu pregunta.

HANNAH: Hola. Mi pregunta es que mi esposo y yo estuvimos en Londres en enero. Estaba en una conferencia grande, y luego se enfermó de camino a casa, y luego me enfermé yo. Y ahora que leemos todos los síntomas, suenan como coronavirus. ¿Podemos averiguar si lo tuvimos? ¿Y cómo haríamos eso?

BILL WALSH: ¿Están enfermos ahora? ¿Están mostrando síntomas ahora?

HANNAH: No, eso fue en enero. Estamos recuperados, los dos.

BILL WALSH: Dr. Williams, Hannah quiere saber si hay una manera de saber si tuvo COVID-19.

IAN WILLIAMS: En este punto, no hay pruebas ampliamente disponibles para saber si han estado

expuestos en el pasado. Creo que el punto importante aquí es que las personas, cuando se enferman,

mejoran generalmente dentro de una semana o dos de haberse enfermado. Hasta donde sabemos, una vez que las personas se recuperan, la creciente evidencia sugiere que no pueden infectarse nuevamente. Todavía hay algunas investigaciones activas en esta área para verificar eso.

Pero en este momento, no hay una prueba fácil disponible para saber si uno se ha recuperado en el pasado. Sin embargo, hay una serie de investigaciones en curso para tratar de desarrollar una prueba para hacer precisamente eso. En este punto, no hay una manera fácil de descubrirlo.

BILL WALSH: ¿Qué hay de la disponibilidad de pruebas, Dr. Williams? ¿Qué puede decir sobre eso?

IAN WILLIAMS: Al principio de este brote, las pruebas no estaban tan ampliamente disponibles como lo están hoy. Incluso en los primeros días, nuestros colegas de los departamentos de salud estatales y locales dirigían las pruebas, por lo que cualquier persona que necesitara una, que cumpliera con los criterios de haber viajado a lugares donde había mucha enfermedad o que hubiera estado en contacto, era examinado. En las últimas semanas, ya se disponen de muchas más pruebas. Y estamos llegando a un punto ahora en Estados Unidos donde las personas que desean hacerse la prueba, y su médico les recomienda que se les haga, deberían poder hacérsela en todo el país.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Jean, ¿quién sigue?

JEAN SETZFAND: Nuestro siguiente llamado es de Wendy de Maryland.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Wendy. Adelante con tu pregunta.

WENDY: Hola. Si; mi esposo y yo tenemos 2 hijos con sus 2 nietos que viven a unos 10 minutos de nosotros, y ellos mismos se han puesto en cuarentena, los 4, y nosotros hemos estado en cuarentena, los 2 durante aproximadamente 14 días, el lunes serán 14 días. Después de los 14 días, si todos siguen bien, ¿podemos estar todos juntos, pero irnos a vivir a una casa, en lugar de 2 casas? ¿Qué piensa sobre eso?

IAN WILLIAMS: Esa pregunta variará según las diferentes partes del país donde se encuentre. Porque, de nuevo, diferentes partes del país están experimentando este brote de diferentes maneras. Lo que recomendaría es seguir los consejos de lo que recomienda su departamento de salud local o estatal.  Algunos lugares solicitan que las personas  se refugien en el lugar durante un período de tiempo más largo. Realmente se trata de seguir los consejos de lo que su comunidad le está diciendo sobre eso.

BILL WALSH: Bien, Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, nuestra próxima llamada es Janet de Utah.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Janet, adelante con tu pregunta.

JANET: Sí. Mi esposo y yo tenemos más de 65 años. ¿Es seguro ir al supermercado? Y si es así, ¿cuánto tiempo permanece el virus en el cartón o el plástico?

IAN WILLIAMS: Bien. Esas son muy buenas preguntas. Nuestra recomendación es que las personas, especialmente las mayores de 65 años, limiten su tiempo para salir e interactuar en público. Pero comprendo que las personas necesitan poder ir a la tienda de comestibles y seguir con su vida diaria para obtener los recursos que necesitan para poder vivir de manera sostenible en el hogar.

Nuestra recomendación es nuevamente limitar la cantidad de veces que hace esto, especialmente si es mayor o puede tener una enfermedad subyacente. Y piense en el momento del día que necesita hacer esto. Tal vez no vaya cuando esté tan lleno de gente, para que pueda mantener el distanciamiento social.

Existe evidencia de que este virus puede vivir en el ambiente por un período de tiempo. Todavía hay algunas investigaciones que intentan determinar cuánto tiempo puede vivir en el medioambiente.

Pero quiero enfatizar que este virus es realmente fácil de matar con desinfectantes comunes. Lavarse las manos es increíblemente efectivo para evitar que usted se infecte. Creo que es importante, si va a salir, usar desinfectante para manos o lavarse las manos adecuadamente cuando regrese de esos lugares.

BILL WALSH: Hemos visto muchos informes de tiendas de comestibles en todo el país que establecen horarios especiales para adultos mayores, particularmente de noche. Sin embargo, ¿hay algún consejo

particular que le darías a las personas si van a la tienda de comestibles? Mi propia madre me decía que su tienda de comestibles estaba limpiando todos los carros de compra para el próximo cliente antes de que entraran.

Creo que también estaban limitando el número de personas en la tienda. ¿Qué precauciones personales deben tomar las personas si quieren ir al supermercado?

IAN WILLIAMS: Tiene mucho sentido que hagan esas cosas. Estas son cosas cotidianas que podemos hacer para protegernos, no solo del COVID-19, sino de otras infecciones respiratorias como la influenza. En esta situación específica, una vez más, tener estos horarios especiales para las personas mayores pueden ayudarnos a asegurarnos de mantener un distanciamiento social adecuado.

Una vez más, ayudar a limpiar los carros en lugares con superficies de alto contacto es completamente apropiado. Pero, una vez más, quiero enfatizar la necesidad de lavarse las manos o usar desinfectante para manos, si no tiene acceso al agua, después de haber estado en estos entornos donde podría haber tocado otras superficies de alto contacto.

BILL WALSH: Bien, Jean, tomemos otra pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, de hecho tenemos una pregunta desde el canal de YouTube. Esta pregunta viene de Nicholas, y él pregunta: ¿es seguro realizar un mantenimiento estacional en mi sistema de aire acondicionado? Estoy cuidando a mi padre

de 79 años que tiene una enfermedad pulmonar crónica.

IAN WILLIAMS: Esa es una excelente pregunta. Va a variar de una situación a otra. Una vez más, recomendamos que la gente trate de mantener la distancia social de otras personas. Además, trate de limitar sus interacciones y posponga cosas que no son absolutamente necesarias. Entonces, creo que dependerá de cuán necesario sea ese trabajo en esa situación. Si es crítico que tenga que hacerse por la salud y el bienestar de ese individuo, deben asegurarse de mantener una distancia social adecuada de las personas que están haciendo el trabajo.

Nuevamente, tratando de limitar su interacción con ellos tanto como sea posible. Pero comprenda que se debe hacer cosas para mantener nuestra seguridad y bienestar en general. Entonces, si es una de esas cosas que es necesario hacer, trataría de hacerlo adecuadamente.

BILL WALSH: Eso genera otra pregunta. Hemos recibido muchas llamadas en nuestro centro de contacto de AARP. La gente se pregunta acerca de las entregas de alimentos y recetas de medicamentos. Estas parecen ser cosas muy sensatas de hacer, pero les preocupa que alguien del exterior traiga algo a sus hogares. ¿Qué precauciones deben tomar si reciben algún servicio externo en sus hogares?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es una excelente pregunta, y también me la hacen bastante. Creo que esta idea de distanciamiento social y una serie de servicios de comida y entrega a domicilio ya están aprovechando la oportunidad de dejar los paquetes fuera, por lo que no tienes que interactuar. Si tiene que interactuar con las personas, asegúrese de mantener una distancia social adecuada. Al menos seis pies entre las personas es algo apropiado.

Nuevamente, y pensando cuidadosamente, si tiene que interactuar con la gente, asegúrese de mantenerse a una distancia adecuada de ellos. Eso es todo.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Solo un recordatorio de que puede hacer una pregunta presionando * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

JEAN SETZFAND: La próxima persona es Kathy de Nueva York.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Kathy.

KATHY: Sí, hola. Mi esposo y yo tenemos más de 65 años. Ambos tenemos problemas subyacentes. Gracias a Dios en este momento estamos bien. Pero si tenemos algún síntoma y no podemos comunicarnos con nuestro médico, ¿qué deberíamos hacer?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta. Llamaría a su departamento de emergencias local o al 911. Ellos pueden asesorarlos y dirigirlos al lugar correcto para recibir atención, porque creo que es importante, nuevamente, que llame con anticipación si se enferma, para asegurarse que está yendo al lugar correcto para obtener la atención adecuada que necesita.

BILL WALSH: Dr. Williams, hemos escuchado hablar mucho sobre telesalud desde el estallido de la pandemia, y sabemos que Medicare ahora está pagando por esas visitas de telesalud. ¿Muchos médicos participan en telesalud? ¿Y ha sido fácil para los pacientes usar eso como una forma de conectarse con las instalaciones médicas?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es realmente una gran pregunta, y algo que está sucediendo cada vez más. Muchos hospitales y proveedores de atención médica están participando más en telesalud y se están involucrando. Y de nuevo, es una excelente manera por varias razones.

Una es ayudar a asegurar que las personas puedan obtener acceso e información que necesitan de forma segura desde su hogar, y no tener que ir a ver al proveedor de atención médica, y potencialmente arriesgarse a infectarse si no están infectados. Pero creo que es algo que se usa cada vez más, y será algo importante a medida que avancemos. Y, realmente, también existe esta práctica de uso de telesalud para las personas que están enfermas, para conectar personas que podrían estar enfermas con aquellos que no están enfermos, porque es importante que apoyemos a las personas en nuestras comunidades que están enfermas a mantenerse conectados con los seres queridos como parte de esto.

Entonces, usar métodos para asegurarnos de que estamos en contacto. Y los hospitales están trabajando con pacientes y familias para asegurarse de que puedan mantenerse conectados con sus seres queridos que se enferman y pueden necesitar hospitalización.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Para obtener la información y los recursos más recientes sobre el coronavirus, visite www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Una vez más, esa dirección web es www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Jean, ¿quién sigue?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos una llamada de Jim de California.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Jim. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

JIM: Hola. Regresé de Europa recientemente, y estoy a tres cuartos de completar la cuarentena, porque ni mi esposa ni yo presentamos ningún síntoma respiratorio. Sin embargo, poco después de regresar, tuve vómitos una noche y diarrea severa la siguiente. Los he tratado y ahora estoy bien, pero leí recientemente que los síntomas gastrointestinales también podrían ser

sintomáticos del coronavirus. Me pregunto, después de salir de la cuarentena, ¿aún debería mantenerme alejado de la gente? Mi médico local y el hospital no están interesados en evaluarme a menos que tenga los síntomas más tradicionales.

BILL WALSH: ¿Dr. Williams?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta. Ha habido informes de personas que tienen una presentación atípica. Quiero enfatizar que hay una serie de otras razones por las que podría tener esas presentaciones que no están relacionadas en absoluto con esta enfermedad COVID-19. Es por eso que creo que es importante hablar con su proveedor de atención médica, porque los proveedores de atención médica pueden brindarle una guía adecuada sobre quién debe hacerse la prueba.

Pero, en general, para las personas que son levemente sintomáticas o que tienen estas presentaciones atípicas, que pueden no ser diagnosticadas, sabemos que, dentro de los tres días posteriores al momento en que las personas mejoran, ya no son infecciosas.

Entonces, si se enfermó, generalmente tres días después de ese tiempo en que mejoró, ya no sería infeccioso. Por lo tanto, diría que complete su período de cuarentena y se asegure de quedarse

en casa hasta al menos tres días después de sentirse mejor. Esto sería importante para proteger a los miembros de su comunidad y a sus seres queridos.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo oyente?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Phyllis de Riverdale, Illinois.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Phyllis. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

PHYLLIS: De acuerdo. Mi pregunta es esta, tengo más de 65 años. Estoy en una categoría de alto riesgo porque tengo problemas respiratorios subyacentes, que son muy graves. Tengo una madre

que tiene 91 años. Actualmente se queda con mi hermana, en cuarentena allí. Pero mi hermana no se siente muy bien. En otras palabras, no es necesariamente coronavirus, está agotada. Necesito intervenir. Somos solo ella y yo. ¿Qué tan seguro, o qué puedo hacer para proteger a mi madre y a mí misma cuando tenga que intervenir e interceder para cuidar a mi madre?

BILL WALSH: Esa es una pregunta difícil. Dr. Williams, ¿tiene algún consejo?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es una situación muy difícil, y lo siento por ti. Creo que lo importante es que, si no te sientes bien, si tienes fiebre y crees que realmente puedes tener esto, básicamente no debes interactuar con tus seres queridos si puedes evitarlo. O si tienes que hacerlo, trata de asegurarte de estar distanciado socialmente y que realmente te mantengas alejado de ellos.

Nuevamente, esta es una situación en la que realmente queremos tratar de proteger a las personas que son más vulnerables. Y una forma de hacerlo es tratar de separar a las personas, incluso si está en el hogar, para tratar de separarlas de otras personas. Pero lo importante aquí es que, si está enfermo y no se siente bien, debe mantenerse alejado de las personas que son más vulnerables.

BILL WALSH: Y hemos recibido muchas preguntas como esta porque los cuidadores familiares ya enfrentan un momento difícil, en circunstancias normales. Y, por supuesto, ya no estamos en circunstancias ordinarias. Una cosa que les hemos estado aconsejando es desarrollar ese equipo de atención, incluso antes de que se enfermen, antes de que su ser querido se enferme. Ya sea un miembro de la familia o un vecino, solo un amigo, identifique las tareas diarias que la persona necesita y establezca ese plan de manera muy específica. Y haga eso antes de enfermarse, de modo que si algo sucede, ese plan puede activarse y no debe hacerse sobre la marcha.

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, es un consejo muy bueno y es realmente bueno pensar en el futuro, y de nuevo, planear un poco sobre lo que necesita hacer, y asegurarse de tener el plan correcto, así como la comida y medicamentos, para que pueda estar seguro y preparado para proteger a sus seres queridos.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Y vamos a llegar a muchas más preguntas sobre el cuidado en un momento.

Solo un recordatorio, soy Bill Walsh con AARP, y hoy estamos respondiendo sus preguntas sobre coronavirus con expertos clave. El Dr. Ian Williams de los CDC está esperando en línea.

Pero antes de llegar a más de sus preguntas, vamos a traer a dos expertos para discutir sobre lo que necesita saber para cuidar mejor a sus seres queridos durante esta pandemia. Esta es claramente una discusión importante. Y en función de sus respuestas a la encuesta anterior, puedo ver una serie de preocupaciones.

Parece que el 53% está principalmente preocupado por garantizar que los seres que cuidan estén seguros. Esa es su mayor preocupación, seguida de tener alimentos, medicamentos y suministros adecuados. Esas son preocupaciones importantes. Parece que así se siente ampliamente.

Solo un recordatorio de que puede hacer una pregunta presionando * 3 en

el teclado de su teléfono.

Nos gustaría dar la bienvenida a dos invitados adicionales a nuestra conversación. Regresando esta semana está el administrador Lance Robertson. El administrador Robertson fue nombrado

para servir como subsecretario para el Envejecimiento y Administrador de la Administración para

la Vida Comunitaria en el 2017. Su visión para ACL se centra en cinco pilares, apoyar a las familias y cuidadores, proteger los derechos y prevenir el abuso, conectar a las personas con los recursos, expandir las oportunidades de empleo y el fortalecimiento de las redes de envejecimiento y discapacidad. Bienvenido de nuevo, administrador Robertson. Gracias por su tiempo.

LANCE ROBERTSON: Hola, Bill. Gracias. Feliz de estar aquí.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, felices de tenerte.

También nos acompaña hoy Donna Benton, Ph.D. Ella es la directora del Centro de apoyo para cuidadores familiares de University of Southern California, así como del Centro de recursos para

cuidadores de Los Ángeles. Tiene 30 años de experiencia trabajando con cuidadores familiares en las comunidades. Gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Dra. Benton.

DONNA BENTON: Muchas gracias por invitarme hoy.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Administrador Robertson, comencemos con usted. Debido a la enfermedad y las medidas de distanciamiento social, algunos cuidadores familiares se encuentran incapaces de apoyar a sus seres queridos de la forma en que lo hacen habitualmente. Y creo que escuchamos

un ejemplo de eso en la pregunta reciente. Se les pide a otros miembros de la familia, amigos y vecinos que intervengan y brinden esa asistencia.

También sabemos que algunos adultos mayores se están mudando de los centros de atención a largo plazo a la comunidad nuevamente y dependerán de los cuidadores familiares de una nueva manera.

¿Cuáles son algunas de las cosas que las personas pueden hacer para prepararse si se les pide que asuman el importante papel de cuidador familiar?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Muy bien, Bill. Sí, y hola a todos los oyentes. Estoy muy agradecido de que AARP esté organizando esta teleasamblea. Creo que para ser bastante simple, Bill, yo, recomendaría tres cosas. En primer lugar, las personas deben estar preparadas. En segundo lugar, deben conocer sus recursos. Y finalmente, necesitan enfocarse en cuidarse también. Permítanme explicar eso rápidamente, si no les importa. Creo que cuando hablamos de estar preparados, y hace unos minutos

hablaron de esto, no podemos enfatizar lo suficiente la importancia de desarrollar un plan de atención.

La comunicación es clave, y obviamente, un buen plan de atención promueve eso. Y ayuda a las personas a comprender, en primer lugar, ¿qué necesitará ese destinatario o ser querido? ¿Cuál es su preferencia? Debemos asegurarnos de que sea sincera en esas conversaciones. Luego, por supuesto, esos planes lo ayudan a apreciar si se necesita atención adicional. ¿Cómo se va a proporcionar eso?

Ciertamente, si el profesional de la salud que tradicionalmente guía esa atención no está disponible,

¿cómo podemos, nuevamente, asegurarnos de que algo no falte? ¿Y dónde se necesita

una capacitación adecuada? Un plan de atención, realmente lo ayuda a trabajar algunos de esos elementos detallados de atención. Pero también creo que un plan de atención puede centrarse en una línea de tiempo realista.

¿Estamos hablando de la próxima semana, dos semanas, meses? ¿A qué nos enfrentamos? Creo que alienta a las familias, a través de esa conversación, a asegurarse de que se aprovisionen adecuadamente de suministros médicos y alimentos no perecederos, cosas que pueden necesitar para cumplir con las actividades de cuarentena.

Además, nos ayuda a asegurarnos de cumplir con los planes de gestión y tratamiento de ese ser querido. Y luego, también, por supuesto, con el autoaislamiento, tenemos que ser creativos para evitar el aburrimiento de todos. Pasamos mucho más tiempo juntos de lo que, en algunos casos, estamos acostumbrados.

Entonces, necesitamos trabajar en eso. Y también, creo que puede ayudarnos a centrarnos en cuidarnos a nosotros mismos. Y esa es la tercera pieza, Bill, ¿cómo nos aseguramos de que, como cuidadores, las personas no experimenten agotamiento? Es tan importante que, por supuesto, tomen las precauciones físicas, según la orientación de los CDC, para asegurarse de que no caigan enfermos, pero también, solo las imposiciones asociadas a veces con el cuidado pueden ser un desafío. Y debemos asegurarnos de que nos estamos cuidando.

Y luego, también debo decir, Bill, es importante que las personas tengan un plan de respaldo. Creo que todos seguimos adelante y, a veces, no hacemos una pausa suficientemente larga para desarrollar un plan de respaldo. Y sé, entre muchos otros recursos que señalaría, AARP tiene muchas herramientas gratuitas al respecto.

BILL WALSH: Gracias por mencionar eso. Sí, en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus, puede encontrar información práctica, por ejemplo, cómo crear un plan de atención, las preguntas para hacerle a un hogar de ancianos o centro de vida asistida si su ser querido está allí. Y ACL tiene algunos recursos tremendos, también, en particular, el Eldercare Locator. Estos son recursos locales

que se pueden encontrar en www.eldercare.acl.gov.

Administrador Robertson, hablamos un poco sobre esto la semana pasada, pero todavía es un tema del que escuchamos tanto, el aislamiento social. Es un problema para los adultos mayores y los cuidadores familiares la mayoría de las veces. Y sabemos que el aislamiento social es malo para su salud, y tan malo como fumar.

El distanciamiento social también es importante para aplanar la curva y desacelerar la propagación de COVID-19, pero también crea riesgos aún mayores de aislamiento social. ¿Qué pueden hacer

las familias y los cuidadores?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, en realidad, creo que este problema de aislamiento social, en la actualidad y en las próximas semanas, se convertirá en un gran problema. Ciertamente, creo que

fue la investigación de BYU la que habló sobre el equivalente en salud de fumar 15 cigarrillos al día si estás socialmente aislado. Entonces, esto no es algo para hacerle la vista gorda. Esto es significativo.

Y sabemos que el cuidado, por supuesto, en cualquier momento, puede ser una experiencia aislante, profundamente mayor ahora. Y vivir solo es muy aislante. Muchas personas mayores han estado viviendo solas, pero ahora incluso están en cuarentena y experimentan un nivel

de aislamiento aún más profundo.

Es tan importante que a medida que todos ayudemos a navegar a través de este COVID-19, encontremos formas creativas de mantenernos conectados con nuestros seres queridos y nos aseguremos de que, ante todo, abordemos la epidemia de aislamiento social.

Y solo sé que, a nivel personal, tengo colegas en todo el país que son mayores con los que hablo

ahora todos los días. Un caballero de Montana con el que hablo todos los días, un buen amigo mío que trabaja para nosotros y que tiene poco más de 90 años, se queda en casa, pero le hablo regularmente. Una vez más, creo que todos podemos tomar esa antorcha y ayudar a combatir eso simplemente usando el teléfono.

Ahora, todos sabemos que existen muchas, muchas otras herramientas tecnológicas, formas en que las personas pueden interactuar a través de los medios. Y todo eso tiene valor. Y creo que este es un momento realmente para acercarse, y para asegurarse de que si tiene al menos un par de minutos adicionales, puede significar mucho asegurarse de que las personas se sientan amadas y controladas.

Y, por supuesto, también nos permite abordar problemas que, de otro modo, no habríamos detectado. Entonces, hay muchas maneras diferentes en las que alentamos, Bill, a que la gente se mantenga conectada y se comunique con ellos y se asegure de que los adultos mayores, particularmente los que están aislados, no lo hagan de una manera que solo empeore su situación de salud.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Muchas gracias, administrador Robertson.

Oyentes, solo un recordatorio de que pueden hacer una pregunta presionando * 3 en

el teclado de su teléfono.

Ahora, Dra. Benton, apreciaríamos su conocimiento. Usted tiene su sede en California, donde su gobernador emitió una orden estatal de quedarse en casa. California fue el primero, pero casi un tercio de los estados ahora han seguido su ejemplo. ¿Qué puede aprender el resto del país de California? ¿Y qué responsabilidad adicional ha asumido el Gobierno del estado para proporcionar acceso a alimentos y servicios, especialmente para las personas que viven solas?

DONNA BENTON: Gracias. Creo que cada vez más estados, como hemos notado, están haciendo algún tipo de orden de quedarse en casa. Y creo que con California, lo que se ha dicho ha sido "quédese en casa, manténgase seguro, aplane la curva". Todos hablan, y existe el término "aplanar la curva". Y queremos aplanar la curva y hacerla un poco más fácil. Mientras tanto, lo que sucedió es que,  si miras nuestros condados y ciudades locales, han intensificado y escuchado las reuniones comunitarias de manera regular para descubrir cuáles son algunas de esas necesidades individuales dentro de las comunidades que, probablemente, si dos personas están hablando al respecto, probablemente representen a varios miles de personas que tienen ese problema.

Y creo que han sido muy receptivos  al decir cómo verificar sus bancos de alimentos locales, asegurándose de que tengamos discusiones continuas sobre dónde están los suministros, alentando a las tiendas a tener horarios especiales para que los adultos mayores y sus cuidadores puedan ir y obtener los suministros que necesitan, alentando a las personas a verificar cómo están sus vecinos, manteniendo la distancia física, por supuesto, pero teniendo formas de comunicarse con sus vecinos siendo creativos.

Creo que el hecho de que esto ocurriera temprano en California, y que los diferentes niveles de las órdenes de quedarse en casa, realmente, espero nos han ayudado a aplanar la curva. Pero estar informado: quiero decir, todos los días hay teleasambleas, hay reuniones, hay una manera de conectarse en línea, la televisión, todo está allí para mantener abiertas las líneas de comunicación con nuestras agencias gubernamentales.

BILL WALSH: Eso es genial. Y creo que demuestra lo importante que son estas redes locales, especialmente en un momento como este. Contaré algo de AARP aquí.

Ayer mismo, lanzamos un nuevo sitio web, www.aarp.org/MiComunidad donde las personas pueden simplemente poner su código postal y conectarse a los recursos de la comunidad local. También pueden pedir una llamada si está aislado o es un cuidador y solo quiere hablar con alguien, estamos haciendo llamadas a las personas que hacen esa solicitud. Sí, parece que California tuvo que adaptarse a la situación rápidamente. Pero parece que el resto del país también tiene que aprender algunas lecciones.

DONNA BENTON: También quiero señalar que California es única en el sentido de que, por supuesto, somos un estado multicultural y con múltiples idiomas. Y también han sido muy atentos y utilizan, tanto a nivel gubernamental, múltiples idiomas, siempre teniendo ESL y pudiendo llegar a las comunidades y utilizando nuestras redes comunitarias que pueden trabajar con grupos culturales específicos, y utilizando esas comunidades también para correr la voz. Realmente les hemos pedido

a todos que trabajen juntos en California.

BILL WALSH: Bueno, Dr. Benton, para muchas personas, como sabe, el cuidado implica varias generaciones, y a menudo puede involucrar a varias generaciones bajo el mismo techo. ¿Qué consideraciones deben tomar estos cuidadores?

DONNA BENTON: Y hemos hablado de eso, y realmente aprecio la discusión de Lance anteriormente. Pero como vivimos bajo un mismo techo, noté en nuestra encuesta que alrededor del 16% de los encuestados están preocupados por las relaciones tensas. Y eso es porque no estamos acostumbrados a tener a los hijos, a los nietos y a los padres adultos bajo el mismo techo, tratando de cuidarnos mutuamente al mismo tiempo, mientras mantenemos esta distancia física.

En el hogar, tenemos que asegurarnos de que realmente tengamos mucho cuidado para mantener limpias todas las superficies, cómo compartimos. Es posible que no compartamos los alimentos de la misma manera y que coloquemos los platos de manera diferente. Pero también, mantener actividades que aún puedan mantener a las generaciones juntas para juegos y charlas y viendo películas, pero que, una vez más, mantengan el distanciamiento social.

Es posible que tengamos que sentarnos en habitaciones separadas, incluso en la misma casa. De repente, enviar mensajes de texto está bien en su propia casa. Siempre estuvo la broma de que estás sentado al lado de alguien y se están enviando mensajes de texto entre sí. Bueno, ahora es posible que tengamos que hacer eso.

BILL WALSH: Así es. ¿Quién hubiera pensado que los adolescentes tenían razón?

DONNA BENTON: Tenían un buen punto.

BILL WALSH: Correcto. Muy bien, muchas gracias. Para aquellos de ustedes que se acaban de unir a nuestra conversación, soy Bill Walsh, de AARP, y estamos hablando con expertos de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, la Administración para la Vida Comunitaria y el Centro de Apoyo para el Cuidado Familiar de University of Southern California.

También respondemos sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta en cualquier momento, presione * 3. Volvamos y respondamos algunas de esas preguntas en vivo. Jean, ¿a quién tienes

en la línea para nosotros?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Laurie de Maryland.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Laurie, adelante con tu pregunta.

LAURIE: Hola. Mi madre tiene 93 años y todavía vive sola en su casa. Ella tiene 3 cuidadores diferentes en turnos de 12 horas en diferentes días. Mi familia está muy preocupada por sus paraderos cuando no están con mi madre, cuando no están en el turno. Y me preocupa mucho lo que deberíamos hacer con esta situación. ¿Y es esto muy seguro?

BILL WALSH: Eso es interesante, entonces es una preocupación sobre lo que presumo que se trata de

cuidadores remunerados que están cuidando a la madre de Laurie. Dra. Benton, ¿quiere responder eso? Y el administrador Robertson, si quiere intervenir, siéntase libre de hacerlo también.

DONNA BENTON: Dejaré que el administrador Robertson vaya primero porque hay dos cosas que suceden aquí. Creo que para su familia, claramente necesita los cuidadores, y su madre realmente necesita esta ayuda durante todo el día, por lo que tienen que tomar las precauciones que cualquier proveedor de atención médica tomaría, si está trabajando en un hospital o si usted está trabajando en una casa, por lo que es posible que tengan que tomar esas precauciones adicionales, especialmente porque, como usted dijo, no sabe qué sucede cuando salen de la casa de su madre.

Realmente se trata de tomar todas esas precauciones en el hogar durante la atención. Y luego hacer las llamadas y sentirse cómodo haciendo preguntas. Sé que no quieres parecer grosero o decir "Oye, ¿hay alguien enfermo a tu alrededor?" Pero sabiendo que si uno de los tres cuidadores se enferma, entonces tener ese plan de respaldo disponible sobre quién va a intervenir para ese tercer turno.

BILL WALSH: Déjenme hilar más fino. Si Laurie se pregunta qué preguntas debería hacerle a los cuidadores particulares o la agencia con la que trabajan. ¿Qué tipo de preguntas debería estar haciendo?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, con gusto aporto algo. Este es Lance.

Realmente recomendaría a Laurie que se comunique con la agencia de atención médica domiciliaria porque, si saber esto ayuda a su tranquilidad, estas agencias profesionales también están muy en sintonía con lo importante que es que su fuerza laboral no solo se cuide bien, sino que ciertamente

son cautelosos para no infectar o causar que las personas que cuidan se enfermen.

Puedo decirte que esta es una pregunta que nos hacen con bastante frecuencia. Y nuestra respuesta

ha sido tradicionalmente que estas compañías de atención médica están tomando medidas extraordinarias para asegurarse de que sus cuidadores en el hogar estén tomando todas las precauciones adecuadas, nuevamente, tanto para las personas que ellos atienden, como para sí mismos.

Pero eso no significa, Laurie, que no tengas derecho a presionar a esa agencia y decir: "Escucha, ¿puedes describir las medidas que están tomando, la capacitación que están brindando, la rotación de trabajadores que tienen trabajando en las casas?" Y muy a menudo, creemos que las personas se están tomando este trabajo tal vez demasiado casual.

Pero creo que lo que estamos viendo ahora es un verdadero resurgimiento y compromiso en la fuerza laboral de saber cuán importantes son y cuán cuidadosos deben ser, una vez más, por ellos y aquellos que cuidan.

Espero que eso sea tranquilizador en cierto punto. Pero aún así alentaría a Laurie a no solo contactar a esa agencia de atención domiciliaria, sino también, si hay una oportunidad para que ella observe por

sí misma, o que alguien observe, solo para asegurarse de que se cumple por completo, esa probablemente sea la mejor manera de estar tranquila.

BILL WALSH: Bueno, muchas gracias. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente?

JEAN SETZFAND: Linda, de Arizona.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Linda. Adelante con tu pregunta.

LINDA: Hola. Mi madre se encuentra en un centro de vida independiente y acaban de anunciar que van a ser encerrados. No permiten la entrada de visitantes. Los van a limitar a quedarse en su habitación y entregarles las comidas allí.

Mi pregunta es, ¿debería ir a buscar a mi madre y hacer que venga a mi casa? ¿Debo confiar en su cuidado y en lo que está sucediendo? No han reportado ningún caso en la instalación. Pregunto simplemente para saber qué recomiendan.

BILL WALSH: Administrador Robertson, ¿quiere responder esta?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, puedo responder solo desde mi perspectiva. Pero yo alentaría a la Dra. Williams a intervenir también, como médico, porque mi preocupación es, por lo que acabo de escuchar, que el entorno en el que se encuentra ahora parece ser seguro, y sacarla de ese entorno seguro, incluso a la casa de un ser querido, como la suya, podría aumentar el riesgo.

Pero de nuevo, la Dra. Williams sería la mejor para responder esa pregunta. Sé que cuando se trata de comunidades de vida independiente, incluso comunidades de vida asistida, estamos viendo, más y más ahora como una práctica común, que esos lugares están entrando en modo de encierro solo para proporcionar la máxima protección a los residentes.

Por supuesto, eso sigue siendo caso por caso. Las personas tienen libertades individuales,

por lo que las familias y los residentes tienen que explorar lo que creen que es lo mejor para ellos. Y muchas de esas variables pueden diferir de persona a persona, de residente a residente.

Si un residente es bastante frágil, eso obviamente provocaría un tipo diferente de pregunta. Y al mismo tiempo, creo, para muchas personas que se han aislado voluntariamente, este no es un gran cambio en su ruta diaria.

Entonces, nuevamente, creo que no hay una respuesta única para todos. Pero refiriéndome al Dr. Williams y su experiencia y la de sus colegas en los CDC, cuando se trata de reubicar a una persona de la tercera edad, probablemente ellos cuentan con un mayor conocimiento para responder a la seguridad asociada con la reubicación.

BILL WALSH: Dr. Williams, ¿quiere intervenir?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí. Creo que está en lo correcto. Esto va a variar de una situación a otra. Y en realidad, va a variar de una parte del país a otra parte diferente del país. Al final del día, estas son decisiones individuales en las que tendrá que evaluar el riesgo e intentar determinar cuál es la mejor solución. Y de nuevo, estas son situaciones increíblemente difíciles.

Creo que al pensar en esto de antemano, tener un plan que seguir, es mejor pensar con anticipación, en lugar de tratar de reaccionar. Pero realmente tendrá que personalizarlos de una manera que funcione mejor para usted y respetar la toma de decisiones para decidir qué es lo mejor para usted, su familia y sus seres queridos.

No es una gran respuesta, pero es la mejor manera de abordar esto caso por caso.

BILL WALSH: Sí, es una decisión difícil de enfrentar. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos

a continuación en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos una pregunta en Facebook Live. Esta pregunta viene de Darlene. Ella pregunta: "Tengo 74 años y sufro de asma. Por lo general, cuido a mis bisnietos. Mi nieta está tomando dos semanas de licencia no remunerada para cuidar a su hijo que tiene gripe regular. ¿Qué puedo hacer para volver a cuidarlo a medida que su trabajo se vuelve cada vez más esencial?”

BILL WALSH: Parece que a Darlene, que tiene asma, le piden que cuide a su nieto que tiene síntomas de gripe. Dr. Williams, ¿tiene algún consejo para ella?

IAN WILLIAMS : Sí, estas son situaciones difíciles. La idea es tratar de agarrar a las personas que están enfermas y, en la medida de lo posible, segregarlas, ponerlas en una parte diferente de su casa. Tenga en cuenta que están enfermas. Asegúrese de que se está lavando las manos de manera adecuada. Haga la limpieza y desinfección apropiadas. Y hay algunas guías en el sitio web de los CDC, nuevamente en www.cdc.gov, pueden informarle sobre la limpieza y desinfección, y nuevamente, el cuidado de las personas de este tipo de situaciones, realmente, el objetivo aquí es tratar de limitar su exposición a esas personas, pero tengo en cuenta que estas son situaciones increíblemente difíciles

en las que necesita cuidar a sus seres queridos.

Trate de hacer lo mejor que pueda, lavado de manos apropiado, desinfección. Esas cosas son críticas

mientras se atiende a aquellos que están enfermos y que pueden tener COVID-19.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Jean, tomemos otra llamada. ¿A quién tienes en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Cora de Los Ángeles, California.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Cora. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

CORA: Sí. Soy jubilada y recientemente tuve una cirugía para cáncer de seno. Y vivo sola. Y estaba preocupada por los suministros y cosas así y por salir porque tengo un hijo, pero él también es jubilado y tiene problemas médicos. Y me preocupa que él salga y busque cosas para mí. No sé cómo se supone que debo manejar esta situación porque no tengo conocimientos de informática, por lo que no tengo acceso a las cosas que me ofrecen para obtener lo que necesito.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Entonces, Cora, ¿es su principal preocupación obtener suministros, suministros médicos y alimentos? ¿Es esa la principal preocupación en este momento?

CORA: Bueno, recientemente también me operaron de cáncer de seno. Y tengo un problema respiratorio, así que tengo una variedad de enfermedades. Y tengo 87 años, así que estoy preocupada por este virus, y estoy preocupada por cuidarme en una situación en la que se supone que no debo salir.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Hay muchos problemas diferentes. Administrador Robertson, me pregunto si quiere hablar sobre cómo Cora podría conectarse a algunos recursos locales. Parece que ella no tiene acceso a una computadora.

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, absolutamente, Bill. Gracias por la oportunidad de hablar con Cora y sus oyentes porque creo que la información que puedo compartir aquí debería ser increíblemente útil. Cora, nuevamente, gracias por la oportunidad de ayudarla a usted, pero también a otros.

Porque incluso si no tiene acceso a una computadora, nuestro mejor recurso es un número de teléfono gratuito, y es el de Eldercare Locator. Y te proporcionaré ese número. Con gusto lo repito. Pero es 1-800-677-1116. Y repetiré eso nuevamente en un segundo.

Bill, hablamos de esto la semana pasada, lo bueno de cuán centralizada es nuestra red es que, a pesar de que ofrecemos una amplia gama de servicios, las personas pueden acceder a información sobre todos esos servicios a través de este número central. Ya sea comida o transporte, o cualquier otra variedad de servicios que ofrecemos, las personas pueden llamar a este número central, que los conectará con la Agencia Sobre el Envejecimiento local que cubre su área, y realmente puede servir como un navegador para ayudarlos a conectarse con los recursos que hay disponibles.

Algunos de los recursos, programas y servicios que ofrecemos directamente. También se pueden encontrar otras cosas de las que tenemos conocimiento a través de ese localizador. Entonces, dependiendo de la comunidad y de dónde sea Cora, sospecho que habrá muchos servicios diferentes, incluso más allá de lo que brindamos nosotros, a través de grupos religiosos u organizaciones cívicas,

o trabajos en la ciudad o condado.

Con suerte, Cora puede a través de este número, que es 1-800-677-1116, y otras personas que llaman

pueden encontrar lo que necesitan. Y nuevamente, esto cubre a

todo el país, cada condado, cada comunidad, en todo Estados Unidos.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Y Dra. Benton, sé que usted está en el sur de California. ¿Tiene algunos consejos para las personas en la situación de Cora?

DONNA BENTON: Sabes, iba a dar el número de teléfon o del Eldercare Locator. Y luego, por supuesto, en California, eso lo llevará a los servicios locales. Creo que para Cora y para su hijo, a quien probablemente le preocupa cómo va a obtener las cosas, hay muchas tiendas locales y farmacias que están dispuestas a entregar a domicilio. Entonces, si Cora puede recoger las cosas de su puerta, pueden dejar las cosas justo en la puerta, o su hijo puede dejar las cosas en la puerta, para mantener el distanciamiento físico.

Pero va a ser muy importante hablar con su hijo porque probablemente esté igual de preocupado porque usted esté sola y no tenga lo que necesita. Y en parte lo importante es observar. ¿Qué tiene ahora? Y luego, ¿qué cree que le va a faltar en un mes? Para que tal vez pueda planificar y ordenar las cosas con suficiente antelación.

Pero le animo a que haga esa llamada al Eldercare Locator y descubra qué es local en su comunidad, ya que gran parte de la Agencia para el Envejecimiento en su área, están entregando comidas y ayudando con medicamentos y conectando a las personas con sus iglesias locales, y lugares como ese, y la disponibilidad de servicios en el vecindario.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo, muy bien. Muchas gracias por eso. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Patrick de Virginia.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Patrick. Adelante con tu pregunta.

PATRICK: Buenas tardes. El panel recomienda la creación de un plan de atención. ¿Puede darnos algunos consejos prácticos sobre lo que debería estar en el plan, y especialmente sobre cómo el cuidador puede protegerse cuando solo son dos?

Y como una pregunta de seguimiento, mientras te estás refugiando en tu casa y comienzas a sentirte atrapado, ¿hay alguna razón para no conducir un automóvil solo para despejarse?

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Algunas preocupaciones de la vida real de Patrick. Administrador Robertson, ¿quiere hablar de eso? Había hablado sobre un plan de atención anteriormente.

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, absolutamente. Gracias Patrick. Ciertamente dejaré al Dr. Williams responder la parte clínica de la cuestión de conducir, pero creo que es muy saludable y seguro. Necesitamos esa luz solar, el oxígeno y todo ese tipo de cosas. Respecto a los planes de atención, hay muchas formas muy buenas, Patrick.

Hice referencia al sitio web de AARP anteriormente. Incluso puede visitar nuestro sitio web en www.acl.gov. Hay tantas listas diferentes, que puede rellenar con información que al menos lo ayudará a comenzar con un plan de atención. Por supuesto, todos los buenos planes de atención se adaptarán a la persona que recibe la atención.

Y le recomendamos que hable con esa persona a medida que desarrolla el plan. Notamos que muchas familias hacen que el cuidador u otros miembros de la familia comiencen a completar el plan y, a veces, excluyen por completo a la persona que recibe la atención.

Yo diría que hay que darle la vuelta, y la persona que recibe la atención realmente tiene que aportar. Pero cubre cosas como el tipo de cosas esenciales a las que debe tener acceso, ya sea, ciertos tipos de alimentos o medicamentos. Ciertamente, enumera quiénes son los proveedores de atención primaria, quiénes son sus apoyos clínicos para algunas de las preguntas y necesidades que pueda tener, qué tipo de atención directa debe tener esa persona, ya sea compleja o no.

Todas esas cosas, Patrick, se destacan en las listas o formas que puedes encontrar, en el sitio web de AARP o en nuestro sitio web o en varios otros. Y realmente, creo que esas son buenas publicaciones que sirven de guía sobre cómo debe llevarse a cabo la conversación, y luego, por supuesto, pueden personalizarse más específicamente dentro de lo que el receptor de atención y la familia quisieran que sucediera.

BILL WALSH: Sí, ese es un excelente consejo. Y un par de otras cosas que hemos notado, y creo que el Dr. Williams mencionó esto antes, es hacer un inventario de lo que tiene a mano en alimentos, productos secos, suministros médicos. Los CDC sugieren tener al menos dos semanas de esas cosas.

Además, desarrolle un plan de comunicaciones. Si te enfermas y tienes que estar aislado, ¿quién te contactará? ¿O quién se comunicará con su ser querido si, como cuidador, no puede hacerlo? Y la Dra. Benton también había mencionado recursos locales, servicios de entrega de medicamentos recetados o alimentos a domicilio. Esos son cada vez más comunes. Y parece que también deberían ser parte de un plan de atención.

Y Dra. Benton, en realidad, Patrick había hecho una pregunta sobre el cuidado personal. ¿Puede hablar un poco sobre eso para los cuidadores?

DONNA BENTON: Absolutamente. Este es el momento en que digo que tenemos que usar las cuatro "C" para el autocuidado. Y como mencionó, no queremos forzar estas relaciones.

Entonces, si estamos sentados en casa, tengo lo que llamo las cuatro "C", que son correo,

canciones, cinematografía y comidas. Para mantenerse conectado, puede usar el correo electrónico y el correo tradicional.

Este es un buen momento para retomar tu colección de canciones. Probablemente tengas música en casa. Puedes llenar tu casa con música de YouTube. Solo encuentra la manera. A veces la música nos da un sentimiento diferente en nuestros cuerpos y nos ayuda a sentirnos bien.

Sin duda, cuando digo cinematografía, obviamente no me refiero a salir a los cines, sino encontrar algunas películas que te hagan reír para aliviar ese estrés. No encienda el televisor y deje las noticias sobre la COVID todo el tiempo Tómese un descanso.

Y luego sea creativo con las comidas, y asegúrese de que cada comida sea algo que vaya a disfrutar.

Dependiendo de su salud y de lo que pueda hacer con su dieta, tenga algo que realmente disfrute en esa comida. Entonces, si quiere un pastelito, y es posible que se lo entreguen. Por ejemplo, durante dos semanas a partir de ahora, dices: "¿Sabes qué? Voy a hacer que me entreguen un pastelito o me entregarán un pastel".

Desea asegurarse de tener un respiro. Me he dado cuenta de que hay más clases en línea de yoga, meditación y “mindfulness”. Conciencia plena, o “mindfulness”, es algo que puede agregar a las "C". Y si tiene en cuenta que puede hacer estas cosas para mantenerse energizado, relajado y alegre, creo que esto nos ayudará en estos momentos estresantes.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo, Dra. Benton, gracias. Y para obtener la información y los recursos más recientes sobre el coronavirus, visite www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. También tenemos algunos

videos de ejercicios ahí. Puede combinarlos y hacer algunos ejercicios directamente en su propia casa. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos a continuación en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Patty llamando desde California.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Patty. Adelante con tu pregunta.

PATTY: Hola. Mi hermano debe someterse a una cirugía de cáncer en aproximadamente una semana y media. Tengo 69 años. Mi plan original era llevarlo allí, estar con él en el hospital y cuidarlo después. No sé, probablemente esa no sea una buena opción. Mi hijo puede intervenir. Tiene 34 años. Pero mi pregunta es realmente, sé que el hospital establecerá algunas pautas sobre quién puede estar allí y quién no, y todo eso. Al transportarlo hacia y desde el hospital, y luego después de la cirugía en casa, ¿qué tipo de precauciones recomendaría a quien realiza el cuidado y el transporte? ¿Deberían llevar mascarillas, guantes? ¿Qué recomendarían? Y queremos protegerlo de nosotros y de cualquier cosa que pueda contraer en el hospital.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Dr. Williams, ¿quiere responder eso?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, no, eso nos hará revisitar algunas de las cosas que dije antes. Realmente, esto depende de cada caso particular. Y de nuevo, depende de la situación y del lugar en el que se administra la atención. Si la atención se realiza en un hospital, siga las pautas de la gente del hospital.

Los hospitales están personalizando la atención de diferentes maneras, dependiendo de su capacidad actual.

Y una de las cosas que es una parte importante es tratar de asegurarse de que las personas que no están enfermas, no ingresen a un entorno de atención médica y terminen enfermándose. Creo que seguir las precauciones adecuadas y sensatas sobre el distanciamiento social, asegurarse de lavarse las manos adecuadamente, asegurarse de que está tratando de mantener la distancia social, son todas las claves para asegurarse de que las personas que no están enfermas, no se enfermen.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

JEAN SETZFAND: Recibimos una llamada de Ruth desde Indiana.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Ruth. Adelante con tu pregunta.

RUTH: Sí. Parte de mi pregunta ha sido respondida por otra persona sobre la atención en el hogar, y yo he detenido un tiempo la atención mía porque tengo miedo de que traigan algo a la casa y contagien a mi marido que tiene 85 años, demencia y problemas de corazón. Y si se contagiara de coronavirus, creo que eso lo mataría. Entonces, tengo mucho cuidado con eso porque no usan mascarilla. Llevan guantes si se los proporciona usted mismo, que yo tengo los guantes. Pero no tengo mascarillas, y la compañía de atención domiciliaria no las provee. Pero obtuve parte de esa respuesta

en una llamada anterior.

Pero también quería saber, me entregan víveres desde mi supermercado y voy a Walgreen's, que está a una cuadra de mi casa. Si necesito otras cosas, están cerca. ¿Debo lavar los envases y latas o botellas y cosas antes de ponerlas en el refrigerador?

BILL WALSH: Bien, son dos preguntas, una sobre la entrega de comestibles. Pero también había una pregunta, escuché a Ruth decir que había suspendido la atención en el hogar debido a las preocupaciones de infectar su hogar. Tal vez podamos abordar ambas preguntas. Dr. Williams, ¿quiere abordar primero el tema de las entregas de comestibles?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, en este momento, no hay evidencia que sugiera que la COVID-19, y el virus, se transmiten por contacto con latas y cajas y superficies ambientales que recogería en la tienda de comestibles.

Nuevamente, la forma en que se transmite esta infección es a partir de gotas infectadas, personas que tosen. Podría existir un riesgo teórico de que algunas de estas gotas pudieran caer en las superficies, y podrían persistir por un tiempo. Pero no hay evidencia de que esto se esté propagando a través de esos medios. Creo que algo de esto tiene que ver con precauciones razonables que tomaríamos todos los días. Creo que actualmente no hay una necesidad o una recomendación de lavar latas y cajas y cosas por el estilo porque es poco probable que tengan a alguien que haya tosido sobre ellas y haya dejado secreciones sobre ellas.

Sin embargo, quiero enfatizar la importancia de su lavado personal de manos. Si ha salido y ha tocado superficies que otras personas podrían haber tocado, como los carros de compras y cosas así, es importante usar desinfectante para manos si lo tiene. Lavarse las manos es siempre la mejor solución. Pero si no desinfectante de manos, la limpieza adecuada de manos es una forma de reducir su riesgo de infectarse.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y administrador Robertson o Dra. Benton, ¿quiere alguno abordar el problema de la atención domiciliaria?

DONNA BENTON: Siento que como a la mayoría de las personas les preocupa que alguien traiga algo del exterior, y sé que no podemos detener la atención en el hogar, tiene que ver con que, como usted mencionó, si está utilizando una agencia de atención en el hogar, puede preguntarles cuáles son sus protocolos. Y si tiene una persona privada a la que le está pagando asegúrese de que siga los procedimientos de lavado de manos y todo lo que está configurado en su hogar, ya que vienen a ayudarlo.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, administrador Robertson.

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, lo siento Bill. Me gustaría contribuir muy rápido. Creo que, Ruth,

absolutamente, a su discreción. Si hay una preocupación allí la seguridad es siempre el mejor camino.

Sin embargo, creo que como he dicho antes, muchas de las agencias de atención médica domiciliaria están muy sintonizadas con respecto a lo que deben hacer. Y creo que tal vez hay algunas variaciones en todo el país, pero para todos los oyentes y todas las personas en una situación como esta, definitivamente me dirigiría a la agencia de atención médica, ¿cuáles son los protocolos? ¿Qué suministros están proporcionando a sus propios trabajadores? Y esencialmente la pregunta de,

¿cómo va a asegurarse de que mi ser querido, la persona que está cuidando, tenga un riesgo muy

bajo de contraer algo de sus trabajadores?

Creo, de nuevo, que es una pregunta muy justa para hacer.

BILL WALSH: Sí, quiero decir, obviamente estamos luchando contra el coronavirus, pero también estamos luchando contra el miedo y la ansiedad. Hemos estado viendo muchas preguntas como esta de parte de los cuidadores. Le hemos estado diciendo a la gente que este es un momento para ser un firme defensor de su ser querido, ya sea que se encuentre en un hogar de ancianos o en una casa de atención asistencia, o como Ruth, usted tiene atención en el hogar.

Si tiene dudas, háblelas. Como decía el administrador Robertson, muchas de las instalaciones y servicios están tomando precauciones adicionales para asegurarse de estar llevando a cabo servicios seguros y saludables. Pero tal vez estamos en esa zona de "confíe, pero verifique", y es importante ser un defensor de su ser querido.

Bien, Jean, ¿quién sigue en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Barry de un código de área 814.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Barry, adelante.

BARRY: Hola. Sí, solo explicaré mi situación. Hay dos preguntas principales. Pero tengo 54 años. Estoy discapacitado. Tuve una lesión cerebral traumática. Tengo algunos problemas de salud. Tengo asma, diabetes y presión arterial alta. Siento que, con mi edad, probablemente podría recuperarme.

Pero me pregunto: esta es una de las preguntas. Escuché algo sobre el asma, la fibrosis de los pulmones, ¿podría explicar eso? Porque alguien dijo que si esperas demasiado para ir al hospital, podría ser demasiado tarde por eso.

Y la otra pregunta está relacionada con, si me contagio, ¿qué hago con madre? Ella ha estado en algunos centros de cuido con hospicio, y sé que puedes pagar un día extra más o menos, y lo harán. Pero no sé si la admitirían si estuviera infectada.

 Y la otra pregunta es, ¿qué pasa si se infecta? Soy el único cuidador. Tengo una señora que viene de noche a veces y me ayuda. Ella tiene 75 años, así que no quisiera que ella estuviese expuesta. Y no sé si el hospicio, la mujer que ayuda, la recibiría si estamos expuestos. Entonces, ¿la envío al hospital? ¿O solo los dos nos quedamos y nos refugiamos en el lugar y esperamos lo mejor?

Sé que hay muchas cosas allí, pero esas son mis dos preguntas principales. ¿Qué es esta fibrosis? ¿Y qué hago si ella se enferma? ¿Qué hago si yo me enfermo?

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Gracias por la llamada, Barry. Comencemos con la pregunta médica. Dr. Williams, ¿quiere abordar el tema de la fibrosis pulmonar?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí. Comenzaré y simplemente diré que es una situación increíblemente complicada

en la que se encuentra, y realmente, no hay respuestas fáciles. Pero una de las cosas que puedo decir es que sabemos que las personas que tienen enfermedades subyacentes y existentes que pueden afectar su respiración, esta enfermedad puede afectarlas más y empeorarlas más que a otras personas.

Lo que diría es que, si tiene dificultad para respirar, si tiene lo que cree que son los signos y síntomas de esta enfermedad, que son fiebre, dificultad para respirar, cosas que vería con la influenza, los síntomas de la gripe, llamaría a su proveedor de atención médica de inmediato, especialmente si tiene dificultades para respirar, porque hay cosas que las personas pueden hacer para proporcionarle medicamentos o potencialmente llevarlo a un lugar donde puedan tener un mayor nivel de atención para ayudarlo con su respiración.

Creo que lo importante es ser consciente de que esto podría ser un problema y no esperar. Póngase en contacto temprano, especialmente si sabe que tiene una de estas enfermedades subyacentes.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Administrador Robertson, la segunda pregunta parecía tener mucho que ver con el cuidado. Es un cuidador de su madre, y parece que tiene un poco de ayuda, pero que él es la persona principal. Está preocupado. ¿Qué pasa si ella se enferma? ¿Qué pasa si él se enferma?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, creo que están pasando muchas cosas, Barry. De nuevo, mi corazón está contigo. Sé que debes estar seguro en tu exposición con tu madre, quien, por supuesto, es bastante mayor. Pero también tu propia situación de salud te pone en un estado comprometido.

Creo que sería bueno comenzar a apoyarse en lo que tiene para ayudarlo. Y de nuevo, lo dirigiría al Eldercare Locator, a las Agencias para el envejecimiento. Y, por cierto, también estamos a cargo, a nivel federal, de programas para personas con discapacidades. Como ejemplo, también ejecutamos el programa TBI.

Creo que hay muchas maneras en las que quizás podamos ayudar a Barry. Pero le recomendaría, para servicios locales, que vuelva a ese Eldercare Locator. Y comience a hacer la misma pregunta de, oye, ¿qué opciones hay a las que pueda tener acceso ahora o saber que está disponible con una llamada telefónica, si lo necesito?

Muy a menudo, y hemos mencionado esto varias veces en este programa telefónico, se trata de una planificación avanzada y de tener esas conversaciones por adelantado, y simplemente estar listos. Es bueno saber ciertas cosas, incluso si nunca tiene que necesitarlas. Y nuevamente, para los recursos basados en la comunidad, todo eso se puede encontrar en el Eldercare Locator.

BILL WALSH: Sí. Y ese número nuevamente es 1-800-677-1116. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Linda llamando desde Connecticut.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Linda, adelante con tu pregunta.

LINDA: Mi pregunta es, acabo de recibir una llamada del hogar de ancianos de mi madre esta mañana diciendo que tienen su primer caso del COVID-19. Como defensor de la familia, ¿hay algo que podamos hacer para proteger a mi madre? ¿O qué deberíamos estar haciendo, si es que hay algo?

BILL WALSH: ¿Presumo que la vas a dejar en las instalaciones? ¿O estás preguntando si deberías sacarla?

LINDA: Eso es más o menos lo que estoy preguntando, creo.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Dr. Williams, ¿quiere responder eso? ¿Y quizás los otros dos invitados también puedan intervenir? Esa es una difícil.

IAN WILLIAMS: Me encantaría comenzar. Estas son situaciones increíblemente difíciles. Y creo que, como dijimos, esto realmente depende de cada caso. Una es, que me aseguraría de hablar estrechamente con el entorno de atención en el que ella se encuentra, entendiendo qué pasos y recomendaciones le ofrecen. Entendemos que esta es una situación que está ocurriendo en muchos de estos tipos de entornos en Estados Unidos.

Muchos de estos lugares tienen planes establecidos sobre cómo lidiar cuando se diagnostica un caso dentro de la comunidad. Sería importante comunicarse con ellos y comprender cuál es el plan que están siguiendo para proteger a su ser querido en ese entorno. Y luego, debe evaluar si cree que ese plan es suficiente para proteger a la persona en el lugar, o si cree que hay otro plan alternativo que podría ser más apropiado. Dejaré que los otros participantes hagan comentarios adicionales.

DONNA BENTON: Yo diría que si su madre se queda, porque podría estar acostumbrada a moverse más libremente por las instalaciones, es muy importante que se mantenga

en contacto con ella. Y hable con el centro sobre cómo van a ayudar a que eso suceda, por usted y su familia. No sé si ella usa un teléfono celular, pero hacerle llamadas más frecuentes.  Desde la instalación, pueden tener computadoras portátiles o iPads que pueden llevar a la habitación para que pueda tener algún contacto visual con ella.

Creo que eso también será importante si ella se queda allí, porque es posible que no tengan tantas actividades grupales. Muchas veces, los hogares de ancianos las han suspendido y están haciendo actividades de habitación en habitación. Entonces, asegúrese de mantener la comunicación con su madre.

Pero sé que esto es realmente muy desafiante y un momento difícil. Pero como hemos escuchado, creo que hay pasos que puede seguir. Pero siempre va a provocar ansiedad.

BILL WALSH: Adelante.

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, absolutamente, Bill. Quiero participar porque esto afecta las instalaciones a largo plazo, de las cuales somos parcialmente responsables en ACL. Pero Linda, esa situación es difícil. Y creo que con lo que todos queremos comprometernos es que, aunque ahora algunos de

los protocolos pueden cambiar para ese hogar de ancianos, todos debemos asegurarnos de que la calidad de la atención que se espera, permanezca intacta.

Creo que, una vez más, el Dr. Williams dio excelentes consejos sobre si decide dejar a su madre allí o llevarla a su casa. Y luego la Dra. Benton hizo referencia, una vez más, si ella se queda, ¿cómo debería ser eso? Y ahí es donde creo que nuestros recursos podrían ser útiles para usted porque cada hogar de ancianos tiene un defensor del pueblo que financiamos a través de nuestros programas. Y ese individuo, su única responsabilidad es garantizar que la calidad de atención permanezca al nivel que debería ser. Y creo que los hogares de ancianos están comprometidos con eso.

De nuevo, siempre tengo cuidado. No quiero que presumas que la atención puede empeorar en una situación de cuarentena. Pero me aseguraría de estar en contacto regular con el defensor del pueblo que cubre ese centro de enfermería en particular. Y ese individuo, como su sustituto, puede ayudarla a asegurarse de que su madre tenga todos los diferentes accesos a la atención.

Puede, nuevamente, acceder al defensor del pueblo a través de, sorpresa, sorpresa, el Localizador de Cuidado de Ancianos. También tenemos un sitio web que es bastante fácil de recordar. Es solo www.ltcombudsman.org. Estos son profesionales capacitados que pueden asegurarse de que la calidad de atención se mantenga en el nivel que se espera en los hogares de ancianos, particularmente en condiciones como esta, donde las cosas cambian un poco.

BILL WALSH: Para seguir con eso, Dr. Williams, le había dado el consejo a Linda sobre hacer esas preguntas y descubrir cuál es el plan. Supongo que si estuviera haciendo esa llamada, no sabría si el plan del hogar de ancianos es bueno o no. ¿Qué cosas debería tener en cuenta cuando hace esa llamada? ¿Qué pasos debería realmente asegurarse de que el hogar de ancianos esté tomando para proteger a su madre?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta. Y le hemos estado diciendo a los hogares de ancianos y lugares que cuidan a personas que pueden tener afecciones subyacentes, que tengan planes establecidos para estar listos para ejecutarlos durante varias semanas. Y esos planes se verán diferentes en diferentes lugares, dependiendo de la configuración.

Lo que yo diría es que deberían poder explicarte, en un lenguaje relativamente simple, qué están haciendo para proteger a tus seres queridos, qué pasos están tomando. Se parecerán a cosas como asegurarse de que cualquier persona que esté enferma pueda ser segregada, aislada del resto de la comunidad, recibir el nivel de atención que pueda necesitar y realmente separarlos de otras personas dentro de la comunidad. Una serie de entornos han suspendido las reuniones comunitarias, han cambiado los asientos estilo cafetería de la comunidad, ese tipo de cosas.

Entendiendo cómo van a cambiar ahora, si aún no han comenzado a hacer esas cosas, ¿cómo cambia esta situación? Y debería tener sentido para usted que estén tomando el nivel de cuidado apropiado

para proteger a sus seres queridos.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Muchas gracias. Tenemos tiempo para un par de preguntas más. Jean, ¿quién sigue en la línea después?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, en realidad voy a tomar uno del canal de YouTube, y en realidad estamos viendo bastantes preguntas relacionadas con las máscaras. Esta viene de Bella

Teva, quien pregunta, si todos usan mascarillas, tipo DIY o N95, ¿no aplanaría eso la curva? No abrumaría su sistema inmunitario y le daría tiempo para ponerse al día, en lugar de una explosión

de exposición.

BILL WALSH: Dr. Williams, ¿quiere responder la pregunta de la mascarilla?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, absolutamente. Y esta es una pregunta que la gente me hace con bastante frecuencia. Y realmente, comprender cómo funcionan las mascarillas es una parte importante de comprender esta respuesta. En realidad, las mascarillas quirúrgicas realmente no te protegen de enfermarte. La razón por la cual los cirujanos y los profesionales de atención médica los usan es para evitar transmitir enfermedades.

Las mascarillas en realidad mantienen esas gotas de las que hablamos dentro de la mascarilla. En realidad, no hacen un gran trabajo para evitar que las cosas del exterior entren.

Por lo tanto, recomendamos a las personas que están enfermas y que necesitan atención, que piensen en usar máscaras porque evitará que infecten a otras personas. Realmente, la parte subyacente aquí también es que existe una tremenda necesidad de mantener esas mascarillas, especialmente las que tienen un mayor nivel de protección, a veces se llaman mascarillas N95, disponibles para nuestros proveedores de atención médica, porque ellos son los que tienen que cuidar a las personas muy enfermas.

Están usando estas mascarillas de alto nivel para poder entrar y tomar los cuidados que se necesitan.

En parte se trata de preservar esas máscaras y este equipo de protección personal para nuestras comunidades de atención médica, porque no queremos que nuestros proveedores de atención médica, que tienen que ser capaces de brindar atención a las personas enfermas, se enfermen.

BILL WALSH: Bueno, muchas gracias, doctor. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Dorothy de Virginia.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Dorothy. Continúa con tu llamada.

DOROTHY: Hola. Acabo de llamar al hogar de ancianos, un hogar de ancianos local, y pregunté si podía enviar cartas a los pacientes, y también hacer FaceTime o Skype. Y básicamente dijeron que no, pero puedo ser voluntario y tengo más de 65 años. ¿Es esa la tendencia actual de todos los hogares de ancianos?

BILL WALSH: Sr. Robertson, ¿quiere responder?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Sí, con gusto tranquilizaré a todos. En realidad, esa no es la respuesta típica que escuchamos de hogares de ancianos en todo el país. Entonces, Dorothy, lamento que la instalación de Virginia haya respondido de esa manera. Aunque, voy a ser sincero, no sé cómo serán sus protocolos específicos.

Sin embargo, nuevamente, la alentaría a que se comunique con el defensor del pueblo de atención a largo plazo local, quien sabrá lo que es apropiado y lo que pudiera ser inapropiado. Sin embargo, limitar cualquier tipo de contacto, parece inapropiado.

Pero, una vez más, tendría cuidado de sobrepasar mis límites sin consultar antes al defensor del pueblo.Una vez más, si llama al número del Eldercare Locator, y pregunta por el defensor del pueblo que cubre esa instalación en particular, podrán conectarla. Y ese individuo, nuevamente, debería ser capaz de romper cualquier tipo de resistencia porque está autorizado a hacerlo.

Y si hay algunos problemas que deben corregirse, ese defensor del pueblo está absolutamente equipado para hacerlo. Si los protocolos establecidos para ese hogar de ancianos, por varias razones, son razonables, entonces el defensor del pueblo será honesto y también lo compartirá con usted.

Y de nuevo, creo que para cualquier oyente, Bill, que tenga una experiencia similar a Dorothy, estos defensores del pueblo son defensores increíblemente poderosos que están altamente comprometidos a hacer un gran trabajo, y les encantaría saber de usted si tiene cualquier experiencia que pueda considerar cuestionable.

 BILL WALSH: Bueno, tal vez puedas decir un poco más sobre eso para nuestros oyentes que no han escuchado sobre el programa de defensor del pueblo. Estas personas no trabajan para el hogar de ancianos. ¿Para quién trabajan? ¿A quién responden? ¿Y cuánta autonomía e influencia tienen?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Genial, Bill. Sí, y profundizar demasiado en los detalles, estas son personas bien capacitadas, la mayoría de las cuales son voluntarias. Hay algunos empleados pagados en cada estado que supervisan la labor del voluntario. Pero estos son, nuevamente, profesionales que, por ley, tienen acceso a hogares de ancianos para asegurarse de que la calidad de la atención esté donde debe estar.

Nuevamente, este es un entorno diferente, por lo que quiero ser claro y decir que eso no significa que nuestro defensor del pueblo vaya a hogares de ancianos, porque creo que, en general, todos nos preguntaríamos si eso es algo seguro de hacer o no. Sin embargo, la mayoría de ellos ahora tienen protocolos establecidos donde realmente pueden monitorear y asegurar que la calidad es la que debe ser.

Y están allí en nombre del miembro de la familia ese representante, para asegurarse de que el residente reciba la atención que necesita. Estas personas se financian a través de dólares de la Ley de Estadounidenses Mayores, que proviene de nuestra agencia federal, pero estos no son empleados federales. Los supervisores que son personal remunerado pueden ser empleados estatales.

 

También pueden trabajar para una agencia independiente contratada. Pero estas personas

existen en todo el país, y cada centro de enfermería tiene un defensor del pueblo designado.

Cualquier persona que llama debe sentirse segura de que hay alguien allí que puede representar sus necesidades para el miembro de la familia en ese hogar de ancianos. Incluso si están pasando por una situación como la de Dorothy, donde parece que están siendo dejados fuera, ese no es el tipo de cosas que creo que la mayoría de nosotros apoyaríamos lógicamente.

Hay formas seguras en que podemos comunicarnos con nuestro ser querido. Y de nuevo, estar aislado no significa que estés desconectado del mundo.

BILL WALSH: Eso es cierto. Muchas gracias por eso Y el Eldercare Locator, lo hemos dicho un par de veces, pero nunca está de más, puede comunicarse al 800-677-1116. Bien.

Dr. Williams, administrador Robertson y Dra. Benton ¿alguna idea o recomendación final? ¿Qué deberían entender, sobre todo, los socios de AARP de nuestra conversación de hoy? Dr. Williams, ¿quiere concluir?

IAN WILLIAMS: Sí, quiero dar las gracias y agradecer por la oportunidad de hablar con ustedes hoy. Este es un momento increíblemente desafiante para ustedes y nuestras comunidades aquí en Estados Unidos.

Quiero hacerle saber que la gente está aquí para apoyarlo. Hay una serie de buenas orientaciones y consejos para las personas que tienen acceso a internet. Www.cdc.gov tiene buenos consejos sobre cómo cuidar su salud y apoyarlo, una serie de guías, especialmente centradas en las personas que se encuentran en comunidades de retiro y vida independiente, sobre cómo desinfectar adecuadamente, lavarse las manos. Seguiremos trabajando con ustedes. Y como comunidades, sabemos que lo superaremos.

BILL WALSH: Bien, administrador Robertson, ¿tiene alguna idea final?

LANCE ROBERTSON: Absolutamente. Estoy agradecido por el trabajo de personas como el Dr. Williams y los CDC. Puedo decirle que, a partir de una respuesta completa del Gobierno, los oyentes deberían estar muy orgullosos de lo que sé que el gobierno federal está haciendo diligentemente para responder a la COVID-19.

Y como todas las emergencias, en realidad, se supone que la secuencia de respuesta debe ejecutarse localmente, administrarse por el estado y recibir apoyo federal. Entonces, creo que, como su socio federal, estamos haciendo todo lo posible para apoyar a los estados que administran la ejecución a nivel local.

Diría que una cosa que no hemos mencionado, Bill, y es que, para todos los que estaban en esta llamada, y las personas que tienen la capacidad de hacerlo, todos debemos convertirnos en campeones. Por lo tanto, es imperativo que la información que escuchó hoy la comparta con otros.

Con suerte, por cada persona que llama, esta es información que pueden compartir con muchas, muchas, muchas otras personas. Ciertamente, la información de recursos que proporcionamos, es algo fácil de compartir. Y luego también pienso para los cuidadores, muchos, muchos están en la línea, lo sé. Cuídense. Gracias Bill.

BILL WALSH: Bien, muchas gracias Y Dra. Benton, ¿algún pensamiento final?

DONNA BENTON: Sí, solo quiero decir, de nuevo, gracias. Y también, para todos nosotros como cuidadores familiares, ustedes son defensores, están en esta llamada telefónica y, como él dijo, compartan esta información.

Y también, recuerden que este es un momento en el que mantenemos la distancia física, pero eso no significa que no vamos a estar socialmente conectados.  Y estamos haciendo las conexiones sociales a través de continuar hablando entre nosotros y alentando y amando y manteniendo el sentido del humor, y tomando ese tiempo para ti, cuando puedas y para tu familia, como todos ustedes bajo un mismo techo tomándose el tiempo para escuchar música, ver películas, ser creativo con uno mismo y

encontrar formas de relajarte y controlar tu estrés. Creo que esto nos ayudará a superar toda esta crisis como comunidad, como familia y como país. Eso es todo.

BILL WALSH: Muchas gracias. Bien dicho, y gracias a cada uno de ustedes por responder nuestras preguntas. Y gracias a nuestros socios de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en esta discusión. Si su pregunta no fue respondida, visite www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años.

Ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan, a protegerse del virus, prevenir su propagación a los demás y cuidarse a sí mismos.

Todos los recursos a los que se hace referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, estarán disponibles mañana, 27 de marzo, y se pueden encontrar

en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Una vez más, esa dirección web es www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Allí encontrará las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que haya aprendido algo hoy que pueda ayudarlo a mantenerse saludable a usted y a sus seres queridos. Asegúrese de sintonizar nuestro próximo programa telefónico de AARP el jueves 2 de abril a la 1:00 p.m. EST.

Gracias y que tengan un buen día. Esto concluye nuestra teleasamblea.

  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • May 21 – Coronavirus: Caring for Loved Ones in Care Facilities With Special Guests Susan Lucci and Jo Ann Jenkins
  • May 14 –  Coronavirus: Veterans & Staying at Home With Lifestyle Experts
  • May 7 – Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Bank Account and Managing Your Career, Business & Income
  • April 30 – Coronavirus: Caring for Parents, Kids & Grandkids
  • April 23 – Coronavirus: Supporting Loved Ones in Care Facilities and Disparate Impact on Communities
  • April 16 – Coronavirus: Telehealth
  • April 9 – Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • April 2 – Coronavirus: Managing Your Money and Protecting Your Health
  • March 26 – Coronavirus: Protecting and Caring for Loved Ones
  • March 19  Coronavirus: Protect Your Health, Wealth and Loved Ones
  • March 10 – Coronavirus: Symptoms. How to Protect Yourself, and What It Means for Older Adults and Caregivers

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