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April 23 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

Experts share information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself

April 23 Tele-Town Halls

Coronavirus: Supporting Loved Ones in Care Facilities

Experts at this live Q&A event addressed your questions and concerns related to protecting, supporting and remaining connected to loved ones in all types of care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. You can listen to a replay of the event below.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 9, 2020, 1 p.m.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, I'm AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being 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. Today, we'll talk with experts about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, and we'll share information and resources to help you care for your loved one. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions live.

If you'd like to ask a question about caring for a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question, and place you in a queue to ask that question live. Again, if you'd like to ask a question, please press *3.

Hello. If you're just joining us, I'm Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking questions live. Again, to ask your question, please press *3.

Joining us today, we have three distinguished guests. First, we have Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Next, we have Claudette Royal, New York State Ombudsman of the New York State Office for the Aging. Finally, we have Charlene Harrington, registered nurse, also a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, professor of Social Behavior Sciences, School of Nursing of the University of California, San Francisco. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Kevin Craiglow. Kevin will be organizing and helping facilitate your live calls today.

AARP is convening this tele-town hall to ensure that you have access to information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware of the fact that the best source of information around health and medical information is still the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as the CDC. You can reach them at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

This event is actually being recorded and you can access the recording at AARP.org/coronavirus 24 hours after the event. Today, we're taking calls with experts about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic in elder care facilities. Again, to ask your question, please press *3.

This is indeed a trying time for many, and AARP is advocating tirelessly for our members and all people age 50 and over during the pandemic. First, AARP has fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will still receive payment of up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. We've also pushed for expanding unemployment insurance benefits as well as paid sick leave, virtual visitations in nursing homes, and family leave for people who need to take time off to care for themselves or their loved one.

Here in Washington, D.C., and across the country, we're advocating for the safety of people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Based on a recent Wall Street Journal survey, more than 10,000 individuals in nursing homes have unfortunately died from the coronavirus. And right now, nursing homes and other facilities are in lockdown mode, prohibiting visitors. AARP is fighting to bring videoconferencing in each nursing home care facility across the country. We're also trying to increase transparency about confirmed COVID-19 cases and testing. AARP is fighting to secure sufficient personal protective equipment for staff and residents to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, AARP is fighting to ensure that residents aren't being inappropriately discharged or transferred.

Family caregivers need and deserve to be fully informed as they make decisions for themselves and their loved ones. And furthermore, AARP state staff and volunteers are on task forces and work groups in 20 states, working to advise governors, mayors and their teams to ensure that the needs of older adults are being addressed in state and local responses to the pandemic.

This week is, in fact, National Volunteer Week. And I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the incredible contributions of AARP members, volunteers, older adults across the country who made these victories possible through your phone calls and emails. Thank you so much for your effort.

Now, let me formally welcome our distinguished guests. First again, we have Lori Smetanka, who's the executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, which is the leading national nonprofit advocacy organization representing consumers receiving long-term care services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home and community-based settings. From 2004 to 2016, Lori served as a director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center providing technical assistance, training and support to 53 state and more than 570 local long-term care ombudsman programs across the country.

Next, we have Claudette Royal, the New York State Ombudsman from the New York State Office for the Aging, who's an experienced advocate with 25 years of working history in long-term care, hospitals and the health care industry.

Charlene Harrington is a professor emeritus of Sociology in Nursing, and the School of Nursing at USCF. Having a major professional interest in nursing home quality and regulation, she served on the Institute of Medical Medicine Committee on Nursing Home Regulation, whose 1986 report led to the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. She also testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging several times.

Thank you all for joining us today. Let's begin this discussion and let me remind our listeners that if you want to ask a question, please press *3.

Lori, let me turn to you first. We're hearing a lot of devastating news about nursing homes around the world. Tell us what's happening in elder care facilities right now. News reports have really told us that there's inadequate supplies, staff shortages, sick workers that are fueling a crisis that some have called this “Ground Zero” for the pandemic. What's it really like in facilities, and what do they actually need the most?

Lori Smetanka: Thanks so much for having me today, Jean. Right now in elder care facilities, there are significant restrictions on who can enter and visit. As you mentioned, all residents are mostly having to stay in their rooms, and all communal dining and activities have been canceled. The issues you mentioned from the news reports — the severe supply shortages, including the lack of personal protective equipment and testing kits, the significant staff shortages — are true in many places around the country, and those are the things that they need the most. They need more staff, they need the personal protective equipment to protect the residents and the staff, and they need the ability to test every resident and staff person for the virus and also to get quick results.

You mentioned that the nursing homes are being called Ground Zero for the pandemic. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 illness. Due to the nature of the setting, there's not such a thing as physical distancing there. The staff have to be very close to provide the personal care that residents need, so the conditions are ripe for the virus spreading from resident to resident and room to room.

Compounding things are longstanding issues with infection control and short staffing, and those staff that are working in the facilities — many of whom are low-pay, don't have sick leave and are working multiple jobs — are caring for residents while they may, themselves, be infected with the virus.

Jean Setzfand: So there's a lot of issues. And let's think about how solutions may be available. And how should, for example, governments respond, or are there examples happening across the states that may be working better in some places versus others that are worth replicating?

Lori Smetanka: Right now, the state and federal governments really need to be working to procure the personal protective equipment and testing kits that are so desperately needed in these facilities. We need to know how prevalent the spread of this virus is among the staff and the residents. The state and federal governments also really need to be closely monitoring what's happening in each facility; requiring daily reports about cases, about deaths, the amount of supplies and testing kits that are available, and the staffing levels that are existing in the facilities so that they can focus available resources to those places that need them the most.

One of the state models that we're beginning to see grab hold is the creation of rapid response or strike teams in states. They're existing in Maryland right now, Maine, Wisconsin and a few others where they're sending dedicated teams that can quickly assess and respond to facilities that need extra help by targeting medical professionals, training equipment and supplies to the places that need the most.

Jean Setzfand: But it's good to see some promising models emerge. Now let's talk a little bit about the facilities. Are they doing what they need to ensure safety for the residents as well as staff? Is it adequate? What more should they do?

Lori Smetanka: Well, we know that facilities have been instructed to restrict who can come in and out, to stop congregate meals and activities. We think they also need to be making sure they're providing the care and services that the residents need on a daily basis. And it's critical that they're ensuring that the infection control protocols are properly being followed by the staff, and also that they're communicating the needs that they have in the facility and the challenges that they have to the state departments of health and CDC, so that the help can be directed to them.

They need to be communicating with the residents and families about conditions in the facility, sharing what they're doing to protect the residents and staff, as well as offering the residents and the families the ability to communicate with each other on an ongoing basis. The issues of isolation and loneliness are really critical and exacerbated during this time.

And finally, we think that the facilities really should be supporting the staff, making sure they have the necessary training, the supplies they need to care for the residents, and also by offering additional benefits to them like paid sick leave and other important benefits that the staff need in order to continue coming to work during this difficult time.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for that, Lori. Claudette, let me turn to you. You're literally on the ground in the sort of role of the New York State Ombudsman. What questions should we be asking nursing homes and assisted living facilities to ensure that our loved ones are being well taken care of? What happens if you're not getting necessarily the answers or trust the information that's coming from the facilities? Claudette, what do you think about that?

Claudette Royal: Hi, thank you for having me today. I do want to say that AARP put out a very good questionnaire to their members; the six questions that they should be asking, such as, has anyone in the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19? What is the nursing home doing to prevent infection? Does the nursing home staff have the personal protective equipment such as masks, face shields, gowns and gloves that they need to stay safe and keep their patients safe? What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or loved ones during this time? And what is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to both residents and families on a regular basis?

And those are very good questions that when family members are calling that they should ask the facility. And we've also developed a questionnaire that we ask the facilities when we contact them — such as what types of activities are they engaging in with the residents now to ensure that they're still getting some social interaction with each other and with the staff? And … how are they doing the dining in the facilities to ensure residents are being fed to prevent malnutrition? … Those types of things are the things we're looking at currently when we're contacting them. If they have protective equipment, that is a question, of course we ask. If they have any COVID-19 cases, how they're separating their residents, how they're protecting the staff and the residents moving forward during this crisis.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for your work also monitoring the situation in New York. And we know also that nursing homes have basically prohibited families from visiting residents during this time. What can families do to communicate with their loved ones, and what should they actually expect of the facilities to help facilitate these communication lines right now?

Claudette Royal:  It's imperative that residents have contact with their families during this time, since they can't enter the facilities. And we do have, in New York, many facilities are utilizing the virtual technologies such as Skype or FaceTime for residents and families to have that contact. In some areas, they've actually been able to have contact with more family members throughout the country that they may not have always been able to see. So that has been one of the positive things that we're hearing from some of our regions. We also have the ability to reach out to the facilities to ensure they're sending that information to the family members for how to facilitate those communications, such as, as many have a dedicated phone line to call to set up a virtual visit with their loved one, and some of them are getting two or three times a week contact with their family members in the facilities through that virtual communication or telephone communication.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that, Claudette. It's good to hear that there's connections being made. I appreciate that. [Charlene] Harrington, I'm going to turn to you. I think this question is something that's weighing on so many of our minds. And if you're actually thinking about removing a loved one from a nursing home or assisted living facility, what are some considerations that are most important for us to consider in making that decision? What are your thoughts on that?

Charlene Harrington:  Well, I certainly think family members should consider it, especially in homes that have had the outbreaks of the virus. But one issue is whether or not the resident may already have the virus, so they would need to be tested, because many residents and staff are asymptomatic.

So you can't assume that they don't have the virus just because they're not showing symptoms. But I think a family member has to think about whether they have an appropriate living arrangement where they could take a family member home, and whether they would be able to manage them, to help them to take care of the person themselves, or whether they would need to have additional help come in to be with the resident. But if it were possible, I certainly think that families should strongly consider it during this crisis, at least temporarily, because of the fact that it's spreading so quickly throughout the home, and because the residents, of course, are so vulnerable, but they're also being subjected to such isolation and loneliness at this time.

Jean Setzfand: Definitely. So I think one of the things that you're pointing to in terms of testing is something that also we hear often from consumers: Are the nursing homes facilitating those tests if you're considering taking the resident out, or what's the best mode of accessing that? Is it still through primary care doctors? Any thoughts on that?

Charlene Harrington: Well, we've been urging the governors to prioritize nursing homes for testing all the residents and staff in each nursing home. We think they should have the highest priority compared to anyone else because of the vulnerability. And that doesn't seem to be happening in so many states, like California. We're still very short on the testing. So, I think … but I think if a family member insisted on it, they might be able to get the testing done, so I think they would have to do that. But yes, we're very concerned that there's inadequate testing, and, of course, it can't just be one-time testing. It has to be repeated periodically.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for your thoughts on that and your continued advocacy as well. Now that we've started a couple of questions for our guests, let's take some questions from our listeners. It's your time to really ask questions about nursing homes and assisted living facilities with our guests: Lori Smetanka, Claudette Royal, and [Charlene] Harrington. If you'd like to ask a question, remember, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. I'd like to now reintroduce my AARP colleague, Kevin Craiglow, who will be helping facilitate your live call. Welcome, Kevin.

Kevin Craiglow: Thank you, Jean. I'm happy to be here for this important conversation today.

Jean Setzfand: Wonderful. I know the calls are coming in, so let's take our first question. Who do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Fantastic, Jean. Our first question is from Rosa in New York.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Hello, Rosa. What's your question?

Rosa: Hi, yes. I live in long Island, New York. I have a 36-year-old autistic son that lives in a group home. And my question is: Do group homes operate under the same guidelines as the nursing homes in the state of New York?

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that question, Rosa. Let me turn this question to both Lori and Claudette. Lori, let me begin with you. Can you help Rosa with that question regarding group homes?

Lori Smetanka: I believe the group homes would be governed by state rules, which is different than nursing homes. Nursing homes are governed by federal requirements. There's a partnership between the federal government and the state, but the group homes and even assisted living facilities and personal care type of homes are all governed at the state level. And so it would be the state rules and requirements that would apply there.

Jean Setzfand: Since this call came in from New York, Claudette, can I turn to you for some guidance on this issue as well?

Claudette Royal: Yes. That would go through the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the OPWDD department, as opposed to the nursing homes guidelines.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Wonderful. Thank you for that information and hopefully, Rosa can reach back out to that office again. Claudette, can you repeat that again in terms of which office?

Claudette Royal: Sure, it would be OPWDD, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. All right, let's turn to our next call. Kevin, who do we have online?

Kevin Craiglow: Jean, our next call comes from Peggy in Michigan.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Peggy. What's your question?

Peggy: Yeah. I believe they can answer my question. It was, my mother's in a nursing home, she's 92, and I received a letter saying she hasn't been tested. But so many residents had the virus, and I was wondering, could I go and get her?

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much for that question. And we heard from [Charlene] Harrington a little bit before on that issue. Let me turn back to Lori. Do you have any additional advice for Peggy at this time?

Lori Smetanka: So, certainly … there are certain considerations that you need to think about before moving your family member out of the facility. Are you able to provide care for them at home? What type of care do they need? Be sure to ask questions about whether they would be able to return to the nursing home after the COVID crisis is over. But certainly, the family members do have the right to bring their family members home, but really understand what their care needs are before you do that, and that you're able to meet those needs so that you can be sure that they're getting the care that they require. If you need additional assistance with questions about care needs or even assistance advocating for testing in your state, certainly letting your state departments of health and your governor's offices know that additional testing is needed, raising your voices with respect to asking for additional testing in your state is important. And work with your ombudsman program in your state. Every state has an ombudsman program the same way that Claudette is the ombudsman in New York State. Every state has one, and you can contact them for assistance if you have concerns about the care in a facility, or you need additional assistance.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. [Charlene] Harrington, I know you weighed in on this question before. Are there any other factors or considerations Peggy should consider?

Charlene Harrington: Yes. I think those are the main things that you should consider, but I don't see any reason why you can't take someone out if you want. They really can't prohibit you from doing it.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. Thank you for that guidance again. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Jean, our next call comes from Brenda in California.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Brenda, what's your question?

Brenda: Hi. I just asked this question earlier probably before you were on, but I'm concerned about things that I've been reading in the paper — and also because I have a friend in a nursing home in upstate New York — that they are now moving people from the community into nursing homes. And the Wall Street Journal had the article; I'm online right now looking to see what other newspapers did, but I know in New York they are doing it because I saw an article about that, and also, my friend's nursing home has had people moved in already.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for your question.

Brenda: What can we do about that? I mean, I want to know what can be done about that because to me, that you're already really challenged in dealing with the people that are there and the inadequate testing. But we're moving people from the community into the facility, that scares me even more. 

Jean Setzfand: Right, thanks. Thank you for that, Brenda. So since the question was addressed to New York in particular, Claudette, let me begin with you. It sounds like there's a question around moving residents, but also moving residents from the community into skilled facilities, nursing skilled and nursing home facilities. Any thoughts on that?

Claudette Royal:  Yes, as for moving residents, they are, in some cases, moving residents from one facility to another to cohort those residents, such as positive cases and negative cases and in each building, and sometimes within the building as certain wings they're doing that to separate those residents.

When you're saying community, I'm not sure if you mean like from the hospitals, which that does happen that they are admitting residents to facilities from the hospital that may be positive. But to meet that criteria for the nursing home, they still have to have a skilled need to be in the facilities. So the facilities are evaluating each of those residents to make sure that they can meet those medical needs prior to admission, just as they would any other time when someone needs to have a skilled nursing care. So they are evaluating those things and being aware of them prior to the admission and making sure that they can manage the medical needs of that person when they bring them into the facility.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for your thoughts on that.

Charlene Harrington: Well, I might just say, I'm very concerned about moving residents from hospitals into nursing homes unless they have been tested because it's likely that some people don't show symptoms or they might even have the virus, and yet a hospital's assigned to discharge residents into nursing homes. And we would definitely like to see that prohibited … because we like the states to set up special facilities to handle residents that have the virus separately from the regular nursing homes. Because once the virus gets into the nursing home, it's very likely to spread throughout. So I think there is a big concern to try to prevent people going into nursing homes that have the virus.

Jean Setzfand: Very good point. Again, reinforcing the fact that testing is critical when it comes to nursing home facilities, particularly moving folks in and also transfers. So thank you for that.

All right, let's turn to other calls that are coming in. Kevin, who else do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Jean, our next question actually comes from Facebook Live. Mary Jo asks, “How can we help our loved ones in facilities avoid depression while being confined to their rooms? We call and we Skype, but my almost 91-year-old mom is losing interest in eating and showering, and feels forgotten since we can't see her in person.”

Jean Setzfand: A really good question. … [Charlene], what do you think about that in terms of how to keep residents within the homes, in terms of keeping connected and helping them with issues of depression?

Charlene Harrington: Well, certainly one issue is whether they have enough staff and whether the staff is going in to visit and talk with the residents. And so I'm very concerned that the states are not ensuring that there's enough staff in the facilities. We'd like to see a monitor in each facility that has some virus from the state and make sure that they have adequate staffing, because that's critically important in addition to just being able to talk to the relatives.

Jean Setzfand: Really, that makes a lot of sense. Lori, any additional thoughts on this matter?

Lori Smetanka: Yes, thank you. I think that what (she) said is absolutely right; the staff is critical. I think that the family members also can be working with the facility to do some care planning for their residents to look at what else can they do to help engage that person, to keep them interested, to make sure that their needs are being met. Not only their care needs, but clearly the isolation and the loneliness is having a big impact on all of the residents, their physical care as well.

So talk with the facility and the staff about what else could be done. How can they continue to be engaged, whether with the staff, with family members, or with other residents. Are there things that can be done to help with that?

Jean Setzfand: That’s very helpful. Thanks so much, Lori. All right, we'll turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Jean, we have Wilma from Indiana with a question.

Jean Setzfand: Hello. Wilma, what's your question for us?

Wilma: I believe you may have already answered it, but I have a family member that's in a nursing facility in Evansville, and I just wanted to know what website that I would go to to just know about that facility. I don't want to overwhelm the workers there by calling on a regular basis and requiring, you know, up-to-date information. But that's something I'd like to be able to see. I mean, Vanderburgh County, they, right now the state only shows one death, and I do know that a family friend's sister just died there on Monday, so I don't even feel like that's accurate, because I know several other deaths have taken place already in Vanderburgh County.

Jean Setzfand: Great. As they're asking and demanding this information, quite frankly, you mentioned the Department of Health, also the governor's site; who should they turn to? Who should they be making these requests if they're not finding enough information? 

Lori Smetanka: Well, unfortunately right now, not every state is publishing information about COVID status in the facilities and what's going on there. That's something that we have been advocating strongly for, and more and more states are now starting to make that information publicly available. I'm not sure if Indiana is one of those states where it is required right now. But that is something that people need to be asking for; that the information about the number of COVID cases, the number of deaths at facilities, the staffing levels in facilities, all of that we think should be publicly available and posted on one of the websites in the state. Many of the states that are starting to publish this information are putting it on their state — either department of health or governor's — websites. That is something that I think that consumers should be asking their state to be making public.

Jean Setzfand: Great. As they're asking and demanding this information, quite frankly, you mentioned the Department of Health, also the governor's site. Who should they turn to? To whom should they be making these requests if they're not finding enough information?

Lori Smetanka: I think they certainly can be starting with their facility and asking them to make sure that the information is made available to them. But also, I think they should be contacting their governor's office (and) their state legislators to ask to make that information public, and work with your advocates in your state. Your long-term care ombudsman program is a good advocate, as well as your AARP chapter, to help raise your voices to be asking for this information to be made public in your state.

Jean Setzfand: Great, thank you for that, Lori. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone?

Kevin Craiglow: Jean, we're going to Barbara from Maryland.

Jean Setzfand: Barbara, what's your question for us?

Barbara: Yes, my husband is in a nursing home, and I'm concerned about the management of medical care. I just recently received a call that his behavior and outbursts, they … they just can't control it, but they're not looking at it that his feet have been swollen for a period of time, and I've asked them to contact his doctor and he's been on medication. So I wanted to know, they are now asking me that I get an aide to come in to sit with him so that that aide would be able to control his behavior.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Barbara, thank you so much for your question. Sorry for your circumstances right now. Let me turn to [Charlene] Harrington … you heard about Barbara's situation. Any guidance you can give her in terms of what she's hearing from her facility?

Charlene Harrington: Well, I agree that it would be good. I think you could call the doctor directly, but it might be a good idea to get an aide if you could possibly do that because it might calm him down and help him with it, deal with the loneliness issue, because I think the staff are so busy, they really don't have time to converse with people and do things that would help calm the patient themselves. Or maybe you have a volunteer friend that's young and healthy that would be willing to do it, to go there, at least maybe a couple of hours a day, and if they had a mask and gown, and if they made sure they weren't positive for the virus, that might be a good idea.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. Lori, Claudette, any additional guidance to provide on this topic?

Lori Smetanka: Sure. … I think that the facilities still have a responsibility to meet the medical needs of the residents that they're caring for. And, oftentimes when we see and hear some of the outbursts that residents are having, that's indicating — as I think the caller is sharing — unmet needs that need to be addressed; that some need of the person is not being addressed and that requires the facility to assess the person for what that need is. I would certainly encourage you to ask them to do an assessment and care plan, relook at that for your husband, to look at what are the needs potentially that are not being met. Certainly contact the doctor. You can call them yourself and ask for an intervention and for a review of what is going on there. And certainly, contact your ombudsman program for help in your area.

The callers and listeners can find their ombudsman through The Consumer Voice website at theconsumervoice.org. We have a map, a national map on our page where folks can click on their state, and they can find the contact information for an ombudsman in their area, and they can assist you as well with some of the challenges that you may be experiencing.

Jean Setzfand: Terrific. Thank you so much for that resource, Lori, and let me just repeat that for our listeners again. You can go to consumervoice.org if you want to get in contact with your state ombudsman. Thank you for that.

Lori Smetanka: I'm sorry, Jean, it's … theconsumervoice.org.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for clarifying.                   

Lori Smetanka: theconsumervoice.org. Thank you.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you. Three words, t-h-e, theconsumervoice.org. Thank you so much for that, Lori. All right, let's turn to the phones again for another caller. Kevin, who do we have on the line for our next call?

Kevin Craiglow: Hi Jean. We actually have another question from a viewer from, this time from YouTube. We didn't get a name, but the viewer asks, “How can families be certain nursing home staff are being tested and have needed PPEs?”

Jean Setzfand: Great, so how can families be certain that nursing home staff are being tested and have the proper protective equipment, personal protective equipment, PPE? So let me turn to Claudette. Claudette, from your vantage point from New York, what's your view on that?  

Claudette Royal: When the staff are coming in the building, they are being monitored and their temperature is being taken; they are being evaluated for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 every time they enter the building. And as for personal protective equipment, PPE, the facilities are really pushing to make sure that they have all of that equipment and are utilizing it, and those are questions you should definitely ask the facility when you call. Are they having their personal protection equipment? Are they having difficulty getting that personal protective equipment?

We have been assisting facilities with referring them to their Offices of Emergency Management to ensure that they have those supplies, because they are key right now to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they are the key pieces that are needed. They are being monitored and pursuing testing is needed, but we've talked about testing and the difficulties with testing right now.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. … Let me also remind folks that sometimes hearing a friendly voice during this challenging time can be helpful. At AARP Community Connections, a toll-free service for all adults 18 and over, we have trained staff volunteers standing by to provide a friendly call … and also just to say hello. If you'd like to speak with somebody Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, please call 888-281-0145 and leave us your information. A volunteer will call you back, and if you prefer to set up a recurring call — like every Wednesday at 2 p.m. for a check-in — that's also available. Again, this is a free service called AARP Community Connections for all adults, regardless of membership, and we do also offer some bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Again, that number for AARP Community Connections is 888-281-0145. And if you stay on the line at the end of this call, we'll also provide an easy option for you to be directly connected to the service, AARP Community Connections.

All right, let's hear more from our experts. Let me bring [Charlene] Harrington back into this conversation … Are there additional noncare factors one should consider before removing a loved one from a facility? What do you think about that?

Charlene Harrington: Well, I think the main factor is the living environment. Do you have stairs, or do you have a bedroom on the ground floor, or what kind of setup do have so that you could manage the person easily? If they're not able to walk upstairs or downstairs, that that could be a factor. I think primarily the environmental factors; but I'm assuming that a lot of people would be staying at home, so they would be able to help someone, but they might need additional help. So that's a factor because then you'd be bringing someone into the house that could expose the family to the virus, but that you might be able to try to get that person tested.

Jean Setzfand: Right. Good for us to consider that, both in terms of testing for people in facilities and also outside and also environmental factors; are really good considerations to think about, to stop and think about before also removing a loved one from a facility. So a good guidance on that.

Lori, let me also turn to you. How do families cope with these difficult circumstances? There's definitely a lack of control, a lack of contact, fear for a loved one. All of this is so overwhelming. How much of this is actually avoidable?

Lori Smetanka: Thanks, Jean. We know that this whole situation has been exceptionally difficult for the families and for the residents. We have been hearing from them directly; they're fearful about what they're hearing in the news, they're concerned that they can't go in and see what's going on and are worried about the isolation. It's really important that the families stay engaged and push for good information from and communication with the long-term care facility, as has been mentioned before. The facilities should be regularly communicating with families and resident representatives, but the families shouldn't hesitate to ask questions of the facility. Ask them about what their plan is to protect the residents during this situation; ask about the number of staff they have on hand to provide care; what their backup plan is; if they don't have enough staff that come in for the day, if staff are calling out sick, for example; and also be asking about how many residents and staff have tested positive for the COVID illness.

I know it was mentioned earlier, the resource that AARP has been distributing with questions that they can be asking back; it's a terrific resource, and we at The Consumer Voice also have a fact sheet for residents and family members on what they can do and other tips for staying engaged, including some of the questions they can be asking of the facility, and also in engaging with the family council that may exist at the nursing home. That also can be accessed on our website.

So communication really is key here. Staying in communication with the facility in terms of asking the questions and getting information about what is going on there. That's the most important part. And if you're having concerns about that, again, I like to refer folks to their long-term care ombudsman programs. They are still available even though they're not going into facilities right now to handle complaints and talk with residents; they still are available to respond to complaints and are doing so virtually in every state around the country. And they are a very good resource if you have concerns or need help about what's going on in the facility.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much for that. Good reminders that you absolutely should keep an open line of communication with the facility. This is no time to be shy. You need to be a consumer advocate for the person, the people that you love that are in facilities. So definitely be reaching out and asking for as much information as possible.

Let me just repeat some of the resources that Lori referenced before. You can also find information about the long-term care ombudsman at  theconsumervoice.org, and there have been several mentions of the questions — that you should ask if your loved one is quarantined in a facility — from AARP. You can find that again at AARP.org/coronavirus. There's a lot of information there, and I'd just invite all of you to check that out.

All right. Let's see if there are more calls on the line. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone right now?

Kevin Craiglow: Absolutely. Jean, we're going to go to Frank from Connecticut.

Jean Setzfand: Frank, welcome.

Frank: Good afternoon. I have a 93-year-old mom in an assisted living facility, and very regularly we hear in the news, the local news, the number of cases of infections and deaths in nursing homes, but we hear very little about assisted living facilities. And I'm just wondering if, you know, sometimes if the statistics are bulking health care facilities all together — assisted living and nursing homes? And I've tried to actually contact the assisted living facility, recently successfully, of course, but I asked it a very direct question as to how many infections have they had. One notification was sent out through email that they did have a resident that was infected. I subsequently, after that, have called and asked how many more residents had been affected since then. And they tell me that they can't disclose that information. So, with my 93-year-old mom being in that facility, I'm concerned as to what kind of precautions they're taking. They tell us what they're telling me. They're telling us what they're doing — the mask and the gloves and so forth, and limited contact. They've been now isolated and quarantined into their apartments. But there's, since then, some staff members who've been tested positive. But I have no idea the volume of infections that are going on there, and I need to find out how I could find that out.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for your question, Frank. Claudette, let me get your guidance on this right now. Granted this is not a New York case, but how would you answer that question for Frank?

Claudette Royal: First, I would say you could potentially access your Connecticut State Ombudsman Program, because they may have information on your specific facility as to the number of cases that are positive in that facility. And also, as we've mentioned earlier, there has been ... CMS put out guidance for reporting, and once those reporting, they're looking to have it be publicly documented so that people can access it. It's to come. We don't have an actual link yet or a reference point, but it's coming where that information will be public from CMS to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But I would say for your specific facility, to contact the state ombudsman program; they may have that information on that specific facility.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much for that.

Charlene Harrington: Yes, I think you should also contact your county public health office because the facility has to report to the county public health office when they have the virus, and (the office) might be able to tell you.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that additional piece.

Charlene Harrington: By the way, we're strongly urging the counties to make this data public. And we know some counties are doing it, but many counties are not.

Jean Setzfand: Very helpful. Lori, I wonder if you want to also weigh in on this as well, just between Frank's noting that there's a difference between the treatment of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. What are your thoughts on that?

Lori Smetanka: Absolutely. It's very concerning to us, and he's absolutely right. We are seeing much more attention being paid to nursing homes … and the thing about assisted living is, it's less regulated than nursing homes. The oversight is at the state level, not at the federal level. So, it is an area where we need to continue to raise our voices and be demanding that the information be made public. The excuse that the facility gave about how it can't give the information and make it public — we don't buy that. We're not asking for the names of the specific people who have been infected, simply just the numbers that have been tested positive or infected with the virus. And so it is something that we would encourage you, again, to contact your governor's office, your state legislators, and ask them to require that that information be made public and that it be posted so everyone can be informed about what is going on in these, not only nursing homes, but also assisted living facilities.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. [Charlene], I might've moved off of your guidance a little bit too early. Did you have any final thoughts on this issue?

Charlene Harrington: Oh, I totally agree with Lori. I think we need to be insisting that the counties and the governors' offices be reporting on all assisted living and residential care facilities. So … I think public pressure is the most important thing to have right now.

Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. Well, we want to hear more from all of our listeners.

We're going to get back to your questions very soon, but before we do so, I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert.

Scammers are, unfortunately, trying to get your money and personal information by pitching fake cures, offering bogus investments, impersonating medical professionals to collect payments, and posing as global health authorities to collect email, to conduct email campaigns designed to load malicious software on your device (and) steal passwords and other credentials.

Google recently reported that they filtered more than 18 million phishing and malware emails every day from their email service. And yesterday, the Justice Department said, “U.S. law enforcement agencies and website operators have taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites, including some that spoof government programs and entities.” If you can spot a scam, you can definitely stop a scam. So go to AARP.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn how you can spot and avoid COVID-19 and other scams. You can also report scams or actually get help if you've been victimized or believe you've been victimized through AARP's Fraud Watch Network helpline, and that number is 877-908-3360. Again, that helpline is 877-908-3360.

Again, for more information or to access recordings of our recent AARP conversations around the coronavirus with leading experts, I invite you to go to AARP.org/coronavirus. There you'll find very helpful resources, including the article that we mentioned before called “The Six Questions to Ask If Your Loved One Is in a Quarantined Facility.”

Again, it's time to address your questions with our experts. Lori Smetanka, of the National Consumer Voice for the Quality of Long-Term Care; Claudette Royal, with the New York State Office for the Aging; and Charlene Harrington from the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.

All right, let's turn to more questions. Kevin, who else do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Our next call comes from Karen in New York, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: All right, Karen, welcome. What's your question for us?

Karen: Yes. I think my question has already been answered, but I'll just ask it anyway. My parent is in a combination of senior living, independent living, assisted living, nursing home. She is in independent living, so occasionally she can come out, but I've been her caretaker where I change her bed linen, as well as do her groceries and a few other responsibilities. But yet, they're classifying me as a visitor; therefore, I'm not able to go in now. What rights do I have that I need to contact someone there or someone within our county?

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for your question. Since this is a question from New York, Claudette, let me begin with you.

Claudette Royal: Are you looking to have contact with your family member? They're not giving you contact to your family member?

Jean Setzfand: Unfortunately we can't do a follow-up with the caller, Karen, but it sounds like ...

Claudette Royal: If you're looking to have contact with your family member, and you're having difficulty with that, you can certainly reach out to your local ombudsman program in the county that you’re in, and you can access that through The Consumer Voice, which Lori has mentioned the website for that, and so has the moderator. And you can also reach us on our website, which is LTCombudsman.ny.gov, and you can access your local program there. I would reach out to them; they can assist you with getting access to your family member. We have had success with that with families reaching out and talking with the facilities and facilitating that communication and making those arrangements.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. I'll repeat those resources again. It's The Consumer Voice at, three words, theconsumervoice.org to get access to your ombudsman, as well as the LTCombudsman.ny.gov.  thank you for that, Claudette. All right, who else do we have, Kevin?

Kevin Craiglow: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is Monica from New Jersey.

Jean Setzfand: Hi, Monica. What's your question?

Monica: Hi, thanks for taking the call. My question is, I have my 89-year-old mother-in-law. We were looking at putting her into one of these combination centers, a senior/independent/memory care unit, and that was before all this happened. We had our list shortlisted down based on interviews we did. And luckily, we didn't pull the trigger and make the switch and are now very glad we didn't. But, you know, very soon we will have to, because it's getting beyond the control of what the family can handle. She needs a memory care unit. So my question is, what questions should I now be asking these facilities, because obviously it's a whole new world before we put her somewhere.

Jean Setzfand:  Great question. Lori, let me begin with you. In light of what's happened, what are the right questions to be asking as you're looking at facilities now?

Lori Smetanka: So as people are looking for long-term care and services, certainly they need to be asking general questions about what type of care and services are provided, what the costs are related to that, looking at the contract and what their rights are with respect to moving from setting to setting. Since you're looking at a continuing care retirement community, who makes the decisions about who moves from one setting to another if you need higher levels of care and what the charges are if you need to be bringing in additional assistance?

But during this time of the COVID crisis, we would also recommend that you ask about, well, generally you should be asking about staffing levels that are available in all of the different settings as well. But during this COVID crisis, I think you should also be asking about emergency plans. For example, how are they protecting the residents and the staff from the spread of infection within the different settings?

How were they communicating with family members about conditions in a facility, and what's going on? Do they have enough staff to care for the residents in the different levels that are available within the retirement community? And what are their backup plans if they are short on staff? Do they have enough personal protective equipment and testing to ensure that they're keeping on top of what's going on and that they're able to identify quickly whether or not people have been infected with the virus?

So asking the additional questions about the COVID-related issues that we've been talking about today, I think, are critically important. While we're in this crisis — but even after — be asking questions about how they're going to protect your family member from the spread of infection.

Jean Setzfand: That's very helpful. Thank you so much, Lori. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who's our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: We actually have a question from Facebook Live, Jean. It comes from Bob. Bob wants to know, “Are residents in facilities able to receive mail? I've heard that some facilities are no longer picking up their mail.”

Jean Setzfand: Perfect. Do you know about the situation and facilities related to receiving mail?

Charlene Harrington: I have not heard of any facility not getting their mail, but I think maybe we should ask Lori or ...

Jean Setzfand: OK. Lori or Claudette, have you heard about situations related to receiving … it sounds like snail mail in this case.

Lori Smetanka: Residents should still be getting their mail. The mail is still being delivered all across the country, including to long-term care facilities. The residents have the right to receive the mail and the packages that are being sent to them. We have been hearing some situations where in order to put some time between when the deliveries are occurring,  and trying to eliminate the live virus that may be living on packages that could be delivered, that there might be a slight delay in when things are being delivered to the actual residents, but they should still be getting the mail, and the facilities should be taking precautions to ensure that things that are being delivered are wiped down or disinfected to whatever extent possible. But still, the residents should still be getting any packages that are delivered to them.

Jean Setzfand: Very helpful. Claudette, are you hearing anything differently in New York?

Claudette Royal: We are hearing that residents are receiving their mail, but for the most part, yes. And to Lori's point, they're making sure that they're cleaning off those packages before they're delivering them to the residents to prevent the spread of the virus.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you. All right, let's turn back to the phones. Kevin, who do we have on the line next?

Kevin Craiglow: Our next call is from Penny from Kentucky.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Penny. What's your question for us?

Penny: Oh, hello. Yes, my mom's 85 years old, and she's in a long-term nursing home, and she's in the last stage of COPD. And they were telling me before this all happened that they were going to have to put her, probably it'd be anytime, in palliative care, 'cause she was doing so poorly and really going downhill. I just wondered, now they say she's really shutting down. She's used to me being over there every day and taking her food, and I didn't know if I have more rights because she is in this long-term. I mean it is in the last stages of COPD. 'Cause I know there's health care workers that are going in that are used to being paid and (inaudible) over there for some of the patients. I didn't know what my rights were. They're treating me as a visitor, saying that I can't see her. And I suggested that I just want to even see if they could walk her to patio twice a week when the weather's nice. But they say, unless she's in the act of dying, that I'm not able to see her.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for your question, Penny. I'm sorry about the circumstances. In Penny's situation, what rights does she have? Are there things that she can ask more from the facility that her mother's in?

Charlene Harrington: Yes, I would think that she would have the right to see the family. I don't know if they'd have the virus in the facility, or if they've been tested, but you might ask them to do testing. But I would have to refer to others more about the resident rights. Another possibility is to ask to have her put on hospice care, because if she were on hospice, she would probably get more visits from care workers.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. That's very helpful. Lori, any thoughts on Penny's rights here?

Lori Smetanka: Yes. Since she's in a nursing home, despite the fact that there are restrictions on visitation, the federal government has issued guidance to facilities saying that if there is a need for compassionate care for the individuals living in the nursing homes — and one of the examples that they gave with respect to compassionate care is a person who is toward the end of their life — that there should be accommodations made to assist the family to see the resident and potentially even be with them. There are some challenges that we're hearing about when this is actually being implemented, but it is something that the family should be asking for assistance, that this is a situation where compassionate care is necessary, and to ask what types of accommodations can be made so that you can be with her as she is nearing the end of her life. If you need assistance with that, again, we would refer you to the ombudsman program in your state, and they may be able to help you negotiate that with the facility in terms of what might be available for you to see your mother.

Claudette Royal: This is Claudette.

Jean Setzfand: Yes, Claudette.

Claudette Royal: Can I answer that? We have had success with that in New York State, where families have contacted us in those situations and we've worked with the facility and been able to arrange some things — like some window visits for the family members and the resident.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. Wonderful, and thank you for your input, Lori, very clear guidance on that front as well, around compassionate care and reaching out to your ombudsman. All right, let's go back to the phones to see who we have on the line. Kevin, who's next in terms of all our callers?

Kevin Craiglow: We have a call from Pamela in Maryland, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Pamela, hi. What's your question for us?

Pamela: Hi. I'm calling in reference to a friend that I have in a nursing home in the Philadelphia area. And unfortunately, we know that prior to COVID-19 in nursing homes, there have been incidents of abuse and neglect. And what my question is at this time with COVID, are there specific guidelines? And if so, is there monitoring of the treatment of residents of nursing homes who have tested positive for COVID-19?

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for your question, Pamela. Claudette, let me turn to you as the ombudsman to answer this question first.

Claudette Royal: If there are concerns related to abuse and neglect, they should still be reported to the regulatory agency. The regulatory agency should be going in, and they are still investigating concerns related to abuse and neglect. So if there is that question, it should be reported to the local regulatory agency, which in my state is the Department of Health.

Jean Setzfand: So for Pamela, similarly, and for her friend in Philadelphia, that would be the Department of Health and Pennsylvania, I assume. Lori, anything to add to that question or guidance on that front?

Lori Smetanka: Sure. I agree with Claudette that if there are concerns about abuse or neglect or care issues, that they can be filing a complaint with the Department of Health. While they are going in only for situations that, are they considered to be immediate jeopardy or that are related to infection control issues, it is important that the complaints still be filed. In some states, Adult Protective Services also handles complaints about abuse in long-term care facilities, so that's another possible option. And the ombudsman program is another option for filing a complaint if you have concerns about abuse or neglect in a facility in terms of having them help you identify what other resources might be available or how to get help to the individual that you are concerned about.

Jean Setzfand: OK. Thanks so much for that, Lori. All right, Kevin, let's see who else is on the line. Who's our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Our next caller is Minerva from Arizona.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Minerva. What's your question for us?

Minerva: Hello?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. Hello? Minerva. Go ahead with your question.

Minerva:  Oh, I just got up. I've been waiting all this time. OK, my question is, when you have a loved one who has passed on in a nursing facility, what is the standard procedure?

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much for your question. Lori, do you have any guidance for Minerva in this situation?

Lori Smetanka: So if a loved one has passed on in a facility, I don't have all of the details about what occurs there, but certainly the facility should be working with the family to ensure that the resident's final wishes are followed through and that the family certainly can arrange for burial or whatever final arrangements that it is that the resident had wanted to occur. Beyond that, I would need to know more about what it is that she's asking, I think, in order to see if there was additional information that I could be providing.

Jean Setzfand: Right. I think there might be a clarification that we just received, that if the person had died of coronavirus; I guess there's two parts to that, both in terms of getting information, as well as the treatment from the facility. On the former, in terms of the information, is there any additional guidance you have on that front?

Lori Smetanka:  The facility is required to report the incidences of cases of coronavirus in the facility, as well as the deaths, to the state Department of Health, and now they're going to be required to report to the CDC as well, so that there should be better data that's being provided to both of those agencies. And they certainly should be protecting the rest of the residents in the facility, and also notifying residents and family members whenever there are new cases or deaths related to the coronavirus. That's the information that we think should be made public, but certainly a facility has a responsibility to be sharing the number of cases and the number of deaths with the residents and the family members. Again, they don't have to say who it is, but they should be sharing the total numbers with the residents and the families.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. All right, let's move to our next caller. Kevin, who do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Our next caller is Barbara from Alabama.

Jean Setzfand: Barbara, what's your question for us?

Barbara: Hello?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. Hello?

Barbara: Yes, I'm calling from Montgomery, Alabama.

Jean Setzfand: Yes, hello.

Barbara:  Hello, how are you? I have a brother in a nursing home in Montgomery, Alabama, and I would like to know, will they be able to give out information concerning my brother.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for your question. I think it's a common question that we’ve heard today. Let me begin, let me go back to Lori, and then I'll also have our other experts provide some guidance. We've heard this over and over again, what should people expect in terms of getting information from facilities?

Lori Smetanka: So certainly the facility should be ensuring that family members — particularly if they're the resident's legal representative or are close contacts — should be getting direct reports about that individual person, and the facility should be ensuring that they have an opportunity to talk with or connect with that person as well.

With respect to whether ... if this is a person who is not the direct representative of the resident, certainly connecting with other family members, I think, would be important, or asking her brother for permission to get information about what is occurring with him and getting, hopefully, the ability to talk with him and hear more about what his condition is in the facility. But I think that the facility does have a responsibility to share information about a resident's status with that resident's legal representative or the person who's designated as the primary contact. That's who they will be sharing information with.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. Any additional guidance to provide?

Claudette Royal: I agree with Lori. It's based on who the representative is; (that’s) whom they'll release the information to. So if you are the contact person for your brother, they should be able to provide you with information on his status and how he is doing, and potentially set up a visit virtually, or a telephone call with him, if that's possible.

Jean Setzfand: OK, thank you. Thank you for clarifying that further. All right, let's turn back to the phone lines. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone?

Kevin Craiglow: Lots of questions today, Jean. Let's go to Sylvia from Michigan.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Sylvia.

Sylvia:  Hello, you may have answered this already, but since the COVID-19 is a national, you know, it's a pandemic, and you said that the nursing homes are regulated by the federal government, is it correct to think, assume that everybody in a nursing home has been tested? Basically a requirement?

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you so much for that question, Sylvia. Is it safe to assume that everybody in a facility has been tested since these are regulated at the federal level?

Charlene Harrington: No, no. Definitely not, because the testing is done at the county or the local level. And it varies widely by county, and there has been a lack of ability to get testing to the nursing homes. So that's the thing that concerns everyone so much, because we know that lots of staff and lots of residents already have the virus, but they haven't been tested and they may have symptoms or may not. So it's still a big problem, but I think it probably varies a lot by state, too.

Jean Setzfand: Yes, unfortunately, I think the testing situation is still not good, but thank you for clarifying that for Sylvia. All right, Kevin, do we have additional calls on the line?

Kevin Craiglow:  We do. We have a question from Wendy in Connecticut.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Wendy, what's your question?

Wendy:  Hi, thank you for doing this today. It has been informative. I have a 93-year-old mom in an assisted living facility, and they have been relatively good at communicating through email and phone calls to report. There has been a resident that has tested positive and several staff members who have, and they refer to providing the staff with PPE. And I just wonder what level of PPE ... I should expect or should be required, especially for the staff people who are coming in contact — physical contact — with the resident? Because, for instance, my mom has someone who helps her dress and helps her bathe. So a PPE could be face mask, face shield, gloves, gowns. What level should I expect they should be wearing when they come in contact with my mom?

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that, Wendy, very good question. In terms of expectations for protective gear, personal protective equipment, what should Wendy expect from the facility when caring for her mother?

Charlene Harrington: I certainly think she should expect that they would wear a mask. And even if they don't have the virus in the facility … I know a lot of facilities are not doing that, unfortunately. They might want to wear gloves, but as long as they did handwashing, I don't know that they would have to wear gloves as long as they don't have the virus. But if they have the virus in the facility, they need to be wearing masks and gloves and gowns, and have an adequate supply so they can be changing those frequently.

Jean Setzfand: Right. And then when it comes to handwashing, how are nursing homes actually able to enforce the handwashing of their staff?

Charlene Harrington: Well, they should have supervision by registered nurses. Each nursing home is supposed to have an infection preventionist. That means it's somebody who's just responsible for looking at infection control, but we don't really know if nursing homes are actually doing that, and if they're monitoring their infections. We've decided, during this crisis, we would think they should have a full-time person doing that, especially if they have the virus.

So, I guess because they're so short on staff, handwashing is not always done in nursing homes. And it's so important at all times, even before we had this virus, because we know there are lots of infections in nursing homes and it is spread by staff from resident to resident. And we know in the nursing home each nursing assistant should only have around seven residents to take care of during the day and on the evenings. And if they have more than that, then they're likely to be omitting care; and infection control is going to be a problem.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. We are coming close to the end of our event. Let's see if we can take a few more calls. Kevin, who else do we have on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: Sure, Jean, our next call is from Trish in New York.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Trish, what’s your question?

Trish: My mom's in an assisted living, and about 85 percent of the residents there do have the virus, and anecdotally I've heard about maybe 12 to 15 deaths. So we're considering bringing her into my home. I am not a health care professional, by any stretch. I do have a home health aide that goes to her about four hours a day, and I will look into expanding the hours once we bring her into the home. But I am looking for some sort of resources for me on how to properly lift her. She's immobile and bedbound or wheelchair bound. So how can I properly lift her? I have to properly check her to ensure that she doesn't have a wet diaper and turn her to ensure she doesn't get bedsores. Are there any resources available for me?

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for your question, Trish. Any guidance for Trish in terms of proper home care when she brings her mother home?

Lori Smetanka: Certainly, it would be important to really know and understand what her needs are. If there is an aide that is already working with her that you would tend to bring into the home, certainly engage with them on how they are caring for her and what the care practices are that they are following with her. I would have to do more research on looking at what resources might be available on providing care services to someone with special needs. I, unfortunately, don't have a good resource to direct her to at this time. I'm sorry about that.

Jean Setzfand: That's all right. Thank you so much, Lori. Let me just open this up to others. Any guidance for Trish in New York in terms of moving her mother home?

Claudette Royal: This is Claudette. As for training for transfers and things, the facility should be able to have staff provide that training to you, as well as how to appropriately transfer your loved one before you were bringing them home. And also possibly a home care agency that may be able to put in some physical therapy if that's needed for training as well.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that.

Charlene Harrington: And there are some caregiver training programs online. It depends on the state and the location. There's also an organization called the Family Caregivers Alliance nationally, and they have a lot of resources for family caregivers.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that, too. All right, I'm mindful of our time and unfortunately, we are up to the bottom of our event. So before we close, I'd love to ask each of our distinguished panelists to give us any closing thoughts, beginning with Lori. What are some recommendations you have for AARP members that they should understand most from our conversation today?

Lori Smetanka: I think just a couple things. One is to remember that the residents should be getting the care and services they need even during this time in COVID crisis, that communication is really key here, asking your facility for information and updates to know what's going on in the facility. And also, making your voices heard in terms of the need for additional supplies and testing in long-term care facilities. Let your governors' offices and legislators know that that is really necessary, and that these facilities need to be prioritized for the testing and the supplies.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much.

Claudette Royal:  Following Lori's thoughts, very much so. And also, just making sure that we are thinking about the residents being socially isolated at this time, and trying our best to reach out to those facilities and arrange that contact with the residents. They do need to have that interaction. It should be a priority for them, and the facilities should be allowing you to have that. So you really should be reaching out and trying to arrange those, either virtual visits or telephone visits.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much.

Charlene Harrington: Yes. I agree with what's been said, and I think that the main thing is not to be shy and not to worry about bothering the facility. I think it's important to have contact with them and to find out what's going on, and also to work with your local organizations, whether it's AARP or the ombudsman or The Consumer Voice, because if you're having problems, let them know and try to work through the organizations to really make sure that we get the care that's needed for people during this crisis.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. Wonderful reminders from our panelists today. It has been an informative discussion. This is a really devastating situation that we're going through. I want to thank each of you for your clear guidance and a reminder to ensure that we keep the lines of communication open with the facilities, and also, just to kind of reiterate Charlene Harrington and what all three of our guests said, it's far from the time to be shy. Really, it's time to speak up and really demand that we care for our loved ones no matter where they are. So to wrap up, I want to thank all of you, our AARP members, volunteers, listeners for participating in our discussion today.

And again, if you'd like a call from a friendly voice, contact AARP Community Connections. This is a free service for all adults regardless of membership, and we do, again, offer some bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Contact AARP Community Connections by calling 888-281-0145.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, and we've been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for 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 and to prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All the resources referenced, including a recording of today's Q&A event, can be found at AARP.org/coronavirus. Go there if you have questions that weren't addressed today; you'll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

We hope you learned something that will keep you and your family healthy. This evening, in fact, we have another event, where we're going to focus on the discussion of the disparate impact of the coronavirus. Please be sure to tune back in for our regular AARP tele-town hall on Thursday, April 30, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, where we'll discuss the issue of multigenerational caregiving.

Thank you, again. Have a wonderful day. This concludes our call.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 23, 2020, 1 p.m.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, I'm AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, and I want to wel-come you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, non-partisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pan-demic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those car-ing for them. Today, we'll talk with experts about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, and we'll share information and resources to help you care for your loved one. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions live.

[00:00:46] If you'd like to ask a question about caring for a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question, and place you in a queue to ask that question live. Again, if you'd like to ask a question, please press *3.

[00:01:06] Hello. If you're just joining us, I'm Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking questions live. Again, to ask your question, please press *3. 

[00:01:22] Joining us today, we have three distinguished guests. First, we have Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Next, we have Claudette Royal, New York State Ombudsman of the New York State Office for the Aging. Finally, we have Charlene Harrington, registered nurse, also a Fel-low of the American Academy of Nursing, professor of Social Behavior Sciences, School of Nursing of the University of California, San Francisco. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Kevin Craiglow. Kevin will be organizing and helping facilitate your live calls today. 

[00:02:00] AARP is convening this tele-town hall to ensure that you have access to in-formation about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware of the fact that the best source of information around health and medical information is still the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as the CDC. You can reach them at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

[00:02:26] This event is actually being recorded and you can access the recording at AARP.org/coronavirus 24 hours after the event. Today, we're taking calls with experts about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic in elder care facilities. Again, to ask your question, please press *3.

[00:02:49] This is indeed a trying time for many, and AARP is advocating tirelessly for our members and all people age 50 and over during the pandemic. First, AARP has fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will still re-ceive payment of up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. We've also pushed for expanding unemployment insurance benefits as well as paid sick leave, virtual visitations in nursing homes, and family leave for people who need to take time off to care for themselves or their loved one. 

[00:03:24] Here in Washington, D.C., and across the country, we're advocating for the safety of people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Based on a recent Wall Street Journal survey, more than 10,000 individuals in nursing homes have unfortunate-ly died from the coronavirus. And right now, nursing homes and other facilities are in lockdown mode, prohibiting visitors. AARP is fighting to bring videoconferencing in each nursing home care facility across the country. We're also trying to increase transparency about confirmed COVID-19 cases and testing. AARP is fighting to secure sufficient per-sonal protective equipment for staff and residents to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, AARP is fighting to ensure that residents aren't being inappropriately dis-charged or transferred.

[00:04:15] Family caregivers need and deserve to be fully informed as they make deci-sions for themselves and their loved ones. And furthermore, AARP state staff and volun-teers are on task forces and work groups in 20 states, working to advise governors, mayors and their teams to ensure that the needs of older adults are being addressed in state and local responses to the pandemic.

[00:04:46] This week is, in fact, National Volunteer Week. And I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the incredible contributions of AARP members, volunteers, older adults across the country who made these victories possible through your phone calls and emails. Thank you so much for your effort. 

[00:05:04] Now, let me formally welcome our distinguished guests. First again, we have Lori Smetanka, who's the executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, which is the leading national nonprofit advocacy organization repre-senting consumers receiving long-term care services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home and community-based settings. From 2004 to 2016, Lori served as a director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center providing tech-nical assistance, training and support to 53 state and more than 570 local long-term care ombudsman programs across the country. 

[00:05:47] Next, we have Claudette Royal, the New York State Ombudsman from the New York State Office for the Aging, who's an experienced advocate with 25 years of working history in long-term care, hospitals and the health care industry.

[00:06:02] Charlene Harrington is a professor emeritus of Sociology in Nursing, and the School of Nursing at USCF. Having a major professional interest in nursing home quality and regulation, she served on the Institute of Medical Medicine Committee on Nursing Home Regulation, whose 1986 report led to the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. She also testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging sev-eral times.

[00:06:32] Thank you all for joining us today. Let's begin this discussion and let me re-mind our listeners that if you want to ask a question, please press *3. 

[00:06:43] Lori, let me turn to you first. We're hearing a lot of devastating news about nursing homes around the world. Tell us what's happening in elder care facilities right now. News reports have really told us that there's inadequate supplies, staff shortages, sick workers that are fueling a crisis that some have called this “Ground Zero” for the pandemic. What's it really like in facilities, and what do they actually need the most? 

[00:07:12]Lori Smetanka:  Thanks so much for having me today, Jean. Right now in elder care facilities, there are significant restrictions on who can enter and visit. As you men-tioned, all residents are mostly having to stay in their rooms, and all communal dining and activities have been canceled. The issues you mentioned from the news reports — the severe supply shortages, including the lack of personal protective equipment and testing kits, the significant staff shortages — are true in many places around the country, and those are the things that they need the most. They need more staff, they need the personal protective equipment to protect the residents and the staff, and they need the ability to test every resident and staff person for the virus and also to get quick re-sults.

[00:07:53] You mentioned that the nursing homes are being called Ground Zero for the pandemic. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 illness. Due to the nature of the setting, there's not such a thing as physical distancing there. The staff have to be very close to provide the personal care that residents need, so the conditions are ripe for the virus spreading from resident to resident and room to room.

[00:08:16] Compounding things are longstanding issues with infection control and short staffing, and those staff that are working in the facilities — many of whom are low-pay, don't have sick leave and are working multiple jobs — are caring for residents while they may, themselves, be infected with the virus.

[00:08:33]Jean Setzfand:  So there's a lot of issues. And let's think about how solutions may be available. And how should, for example, governments respond, or are there ex-amples happening across the states that may be working better in some places versus others that are worth replicating? 

[00:08:49]Lori Smetanka:  Right now, the state and federal governments really need to be working to procure the personal protective equipment and testing kits that are so desperately needed in these facilities. We need to know how prevalent the spread of this virus is among the staff and the residents. The state and federal governments also really need to be closely monitoring what's happening in each facility; requiring daily reports about cases, about deaths, the amount of supplies and testing kits that are avail-able, and the staffing levels that are existing in the facilities so that they can focus avail-able resources to those places that need them the most.

[00:09:28] One of the state models that we're beginning to see grab hold is the creation of rapid response or strike teams in states. They're existing in Maryland right now, Maine, Wisconsin and a few others where they're sending dedicated teams that can quickly assess and respond to facilities that need extra help by targeting medical profes-sionals, training equipment and supplies to the places that need the most.

[00:09:54]Jean Setzfand:  But it's good to see some promising models emerge. Now let's talk a little bit about the facilities. Are they doing what they need to ensure safety for the residents as well as staff? Is it adequate? What more should they do? 

[00:10:09]Lori Smetanka:  Well, we know that facilities have been instructed to restrict who can come in and out, to stop congregate meals and activities. We think they also need to be making sure they're providing the care and services that the residents need on a daily basis. And it's critical that they're ensuring that the infection control proto-cols are properly being followed by the staff, and also that they're communicating the needs that they have in the facility and the challenges that they have to the state de-partments of health and CDC, so that the help can be directed to them.

[00:10:40] They need to be communicating with the residents and families about condi-tions in the facility, sharing what they're doing to protect the residents and staff, as well as offering the residents and the families the ability to communicate with each other on an ongoing basis. The issues of isolation and loneliness are really critical and exacerbat-ed during this time.

[00:11:01] And finally, we think that the facilities really should be supporting the staff, making sure they have the necessary training, the supplies they need to care for the residents, and also by offering additional benefits to them like paid sick leave and other important benefits that the staff need in order to continue coming to work during this difficult time.

[00:11:21]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that, Lori. Claudette, let me turn to you. You're literally on the ground in the sort of role of the New York State Om-budsman. What questions should we be asking nursing homes and assisted living facili-ties to ensure that our loved ones are being well taken care of? What happens if you're not getting necessarily the answers or trust the information that's coming from the facil-ities? Claudette, what do you think about that? 

[00:11:48]Claudette Royal:  Hi, thank you for having me today. I do want to say that AARP put out a very good questionnaire to their members; the six questions that they should be asking, such as, has anyone in the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19? What is the nursing home doing to prevent infection? Does the nursing home staff have the personal protective equipment such as masks, face shields, gowns and gloves that they need to stay safe and keep their patients safe? What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or loved ones during this time? And what is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to both residents and families on a regular basis? 

[00:12:23] And those are very good questions that when family members are calling that they should ask the facility. And we've also developed a questionnaire that we ask the facilities when we contact them — such as what types of activities are they engaging in with the residents now to ensure that they're still getting some social interaction with each other and with the staff? And … how are they doing the dining in the facilities to ensure residents are being fed to prevent malnutrition? … Those types of things are the things we're looking at currently when we're contacting them. If they have protective equipment, that is a question, of course we ask. If they have any COVID-19 cases, how they're separating their residents, how they're protecting the staff and the residents moving forward during this crisis. 

[00:13:06]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for your work also monitoring the situation in New York. And we know also that nursing homes have basically prohibited families from visiting residents during this time. What can families do to communicate with their loved ones, and what should they actually expect of the facilities to help facilitate these communication lines right now?

[00:13:29]Claudette Royal:  It's imperative that residents have contact with their fami-lies during this time, since they can't enter the facilities. And we do have, in New York, many facilities are utilizing the virtual technologies such as Skype or FaceTime for resi-dents and families to have that contact. In some areas, they've actually been able to have contact with more family members throughout the country that they may not have always been able to see. So that has been one of the positive things that we're hearing from some of our regions. We also have the ability to reach out to the facilities to ensure they're sending that information to the family members for how to facilitate those communications, such as, as many have a dedicated phone line to call to set up a virtual visit with their loved one, and some of them are getting two or three times a week contact with their family members in the facilities through that virtual communi-cation or telephone communication.

[00:14:23]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that, Claudette. It's good to hear that there's connections being made. I appreciate that. [Charlene] Harrington, I'm going to turn to you. I think this question is something that's weighing on so many of our minds. And if you're actually thinking about removing a loved one from a nursing home or assisted living facility, what are some considerations that are most important for us to consider in making that decision? What are your thoughts on that?

[00:14:53]Charlene Harrington:  Well, I certainly think family members should consider it, especially in homes that have had the outbreaks of the virus. But one issue is wheth-er or not the resident may already have the virus, so they would need to be tested, be-cause many residents and staff are asymptomatic.

[00:15:18] So you can't assume that they don't have the virus just because they're not showing symptoms. But I think a family member has to think about whether they have an appropriate living arrangement where they could take a family member home, and whether they would be able to manage them, to help them to take care of the person themselves, or whether they would need to have additional help come in to be with the resident. But if it were possible, I certainly think that families should strongly con-sider it during this crisis, at least temporarily, because of the fact that it's spreading so quickly throughout the home, and because the residents, of course, are so vulnerable, but they're also being subjected to such isolation and loneliness at this time.

[00:16:17]Jean Setzfand:  Definitely. So I think one of the things that you're pointing to in terms of testing is something that also we hear often from consumers: Are the nurs-ing homes facilitating those tests if you're considering taking the resident out, or what's the best mode of accessing that? Is it still through primary care doctors? Any thoughts on that? 

[00:16:40]Charlene Harrington:  Well, we've been urging the governors to prioritize nursing homes for testing all the residents and staff in each nursing home. We think they should have the highest priority compared to anyone else because of the vulnera-bility. And that doesn't seem to be happening in so many states, like California. We're still very short on the testing. So, I think … but I think if a family member insisted on it, they might be able to get the testing done, so I think they would have to do that. But yes, we're very concerned that there's inadequate testing, and, of course, it can't just be one-time testing. It has to be repeated periodically. 

[00:17:34]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for your thoughts on that and your continued advo-cacy as well. Now that we've started a couple of questions for our guests, let's take some questions from our listeners. It's your time to really ask questions about nursing homes and assisted living facilities with our guests: Lori Smetanka, Claudette Royal, and [Charlene] Harrington. If you'd like to ask a question, remember, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. I'd like to now reintroduce my AARP colleague, Kevin Craiglow, who will be helping facilitate your live call. Welcome, Kevin.

[00:18:16]Kevin Craiglow:  Thank you, Jean. I'm happy to be here for this important con-versation today. 

[00:18:20]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. I know the calls are coming in, so let's take our first question. Who do we have on the line? 

[00:18:26]Kevin Craiglow:  Fantastic, Jean. Our first question is from Rosa in New York. 

[00:18:30]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Hello, Rosa. What's your question? 

[00:18:33]Rosa:  Hi, yes. I live in long Island, New York. I have a 36-year-old autistic son that lives in a group home. And my question is: Do group homes operate under the same guidelines as the nursing homes in the state of New York? 

[00:18:48]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that question, Rosa. Let me turn this question to both Lori and Claudette. Lori, let me begin with you. Can you help Rosa with that question regarding group homes?

[00:19:03]Lori Smetanka:  I believe the group homes would be governed by state rules, which is different than nursing homes. Nursing homes are governed by federal require-ments. There's a partnership between the federal government and the state, but the group homes and even assisted living facilities and personal care type of homes are all governed at the state level. And so it would be the state rules and requirements that would apply there.

[00:19:29]Jean Setzfand:  Since this call came in from New York, Claudette, can I turn to you for some guidance on this issue as well? 

[00:19:36]Claudette Royal:  Yes. That would go through the Office for People With De-velopmental Disabilities, the OPWDD department, as opposed to the nursing homes guidelines.

[00:19:45]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Wonderful. Thank you for that information and hopeful-ly, Rosa can reach back out to that office again. Claudette, can you repeat that again in terms of which office? 

[00:19:57]Claudette Royal:  Sure, it would be OPWDD, Office for People With Develop-mental Disabilities. 

[00:20:03]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. All right, let's turn to our next call. Kevin, who do we have online? 

[00:20:08]Kevin Craiglow:  Jean, our next call comes from Peggy in Michigan. 

[00:20:12]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Peggy. What's your question? 

[00:20:15]Peggy:  Yeah. I believe they can answer my question. It was, my mother's in a nursing home, she's 92, and I received a letter saying she hasn't been tested. But so many residents had the virus, and I was wondering, could I go and get her?

[00:20:33]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that question. And we heard from [Charlene] Harrington a little bit before on that issue. Let me turn back to Lori. Do you have any additional advice for Peggy at this time? 

[00:20:50]Lori Smetanka:  So, certainly … there are certain considerations that you need to think about before moving your family member out of the facility. Are you able to provide care for them at home? What type of care do they need? Be sure to ask ques-tions about whether they would be able to return to the nursing home after the COVID crisis is over. But certainly, the family members do have the right to bring their family members home, but really understand what their care needs are before you do that, and that you're able to meet those needs so that you can be sure that they're getting the care that they require. If you need additional assistance with questions about care needs or even assistance advocating for testing in your state, certainly letting your state departments of health and your governor's offices know that additional testing is need-ed, raising your voices with respect to asking for additional testing in your state is im-portant. And work with your ombudsman program in your state. Every state has an om-budsman program the same way that Claudette is the ombudsman in New York State. Every state has one, and you can contact them for assistance if you have concerns about the care in a facility, or you need additional assistance.

[00:22:12]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. [Charlene] Harrington, I know you weighed in on this question before. Are there any other factors or considerations Peggy should consider? 

[00:22:28]Charlene Harrington:  Yes. I think those are the main things that you should consider, but I don't see any reason why you can't take someone out if you want. They really can't prohibit you from doing it. 

[00:22:44]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. Thank you for that guidance again. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the line? 

[00:22:52]Kevin Craiglow:  Jean, our next call comes from Brenda in California. 

[00:22:56]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Brenda, what's your question? 

[00:22:57]Brenda:  Hi. I just asked this question earlier probably before you were on, but I'm concerned about things that I've been reading in the paper — and also because I have a friend in a nursing home in upstate New York — that they are now moving peo-ple from the community into nursing homes. And the Wall Street Journal had the arti-cle; I'm online right now looking to see what other newspapers did, but I know in New York they are doing it because I saw an article about that, and also, my friend's nursing home has had people moved in already. 

[00:23:40]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for your question. 

[00:23:42]Brenda:  What can we do about that? I mean, I want to know what can be done about that because to me, that you're already really challenged in dealing with the people that are there and the inadequate testing. But we're moving people from the community into the facility, that scares me even more. 

[00:24:01]Jean Setzfand:  Right, thanks. Thank you for that, Brenda. So since the ques-tion was addressed to New York in particular, Claudette, let me begin with you. It sounds like there's a question around moving residents, but also moving residents from the community into skilled facilities, nursing skilled and nursing home facilities. Any thoughts on that?

[00:24:26]Claudette Royal:  Yes, as for moving residents, they are, in some cases, moving residents from one facility to another to cohort those residents, such as positive cases and negative cases and in each building, and sometimes within the building as certain wings they're doing that to separate those residents. 

[00:24:43] When you're saying community, I'm not sure if you mean like from the hospi-tals, which that does happen that they are admitting residents to facilities from the hospital that may be positive. But to meet that criteria for the nursing home, they still have to have a skilled need to be in the facilities. So the facilities are evaluating each of those residents to make sure that they can meet those medical needs prior to admis-sion, just as they would any other time when someone needs to have a skilled nursing care. So they are evaluating those things and being aware of them prior to the admis-sion and making sure that they can manage the medical needs of that person when they bring them into the facility.

[00:25:21]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for your thoughts on that. 

[00:25:27]Charlene Harrington:  Well, I might just say, I'm very concerned about moving residents from hospitals into nursing homes unless they have been tested because it's likely that some people don't show symptoms or they might even have the virus, and yet a hospital's assigned to discharge residents into nursing homes. And we would defi-nitely like to see that prohibited … because we like the states to set up special facilities to handle residents that have the virus separately from the regular nursing homes. Be-cause once the virus gets into the nursing home, it's very likely to spread throughout. So I think there is a big concern to try to prevent people going into nursing homes that have the virus. 

[00:26:34]Jean Setzfand:  Very good point. Again, reinforcing the fact that testing is crit-ical when it comes to nursing home facilities, particularly moving folks in and also trans-fers. So thank you for that. 

[00:26:48] All right, let's turn to other calls that are coming in. Kevin, who else do we have on the line? 

[00:26:53]Kevin Craiglow:  Jean, our next question actually comes from Facebook Live. Mary Jo asks, “How can we help our loved ones in facilities avoid depression while be-ing confined to their rooms? We call and we Skype, but my almost 91-year-old mom is losing interest in eating and showering, and feels forgotten since we can't see her in person.”

[00:27:15]Jean Setzfand:  A really good question. … [Charlene] , what do you think about that in terms of how to keep residents within the homes, in terms of keeping connect-ed and helping them with issues of depression?

[00:27:39]Charlene Harrington:  Well, certainly one issue is whether they have enough staff and whether the staff is going in to visit and talk with the residents. And so I'm very concerned that the states are not ensuring that there's enough staff in the facilities. We'd like to see a monitor in each facility that has some virus from the state and make sure that they have adequate staffing, because that's critically important in addition to just being able to talk to the relatives. 

[00:28:17]Jean Setzfand:  Really, that makes a lot of sense. Lori, any additional thoughts on this matter?

[00:28:23]Lori Smetanka:  Yes, thank you. I think that what [she] said is absolutely right; the staff is critical. I think that the family members also can be working with the facility to do some care planning for their residents to look at what else can they do to help engage that person, to keep them interested, to make sure that their needs are being met. Not only their care needs, but clearly the isolation and the loneliness is having a big impact on all of the residents, their physical care as well.

[00:29:00] So talk with the facility and the staff about what else could be done. How can they continue to be engaged, whether with the staff, with family members, or with other residents. Are there things that can be done to help with that?

[00:29:17]Jean Setzfand:  That’s very helpful. Thanks so much, Lori. All right, we'll turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the line? 

[00:29:25]Kevin Craiglow:  Jean, we have Wilma from Indiana with a question. 

[00:29:29]Jean Setzfand:  Hello. Wilma, what's your question for us? 

[00:29:33]Wilma:  I believe you may have already answered it, but I have a family mem-ber that's in a nursing facility in Evansville, and I just wanted to know what website that I would go to to just know about that facility. I don't want to overwhelm the workers there by calling on a regular basis and requiring, you know, up-to-date information. But that's something I'd like to be able to see. I mean, Vanderburgh County, they, right now the state only shows one death, and I do know that a family friend's sister just died there on Monday, so I don't even feel like that's accurate, because I know several other deaths have taken place already in Vanderburgh County. 

[00:31:54]Jean Setzfand:  Great. As they're asking and demanding this information, quite frankly, you mentioned the Department of Health, also the governor's site; who should they turn to? Who should they be making these requests if they're not finding enough information? 

[00:32:07]Lori Smetanka:  Well, unfortunately right now, not every state is publishing information about COVID status in the facilities and what's going on there. That's some-thing that we have been advocating strongly for, and more and more states are now starting to make that information publicly available. I'm not sure if Indiana is one of those states where it is required right now. But that is something that people need to be asking for; that the information about the number of COVID cases, the number of deaths at facilities, the staffing levels in facilities, all of that we think should be publicly available and posted on one of the websites in the state. Many of the states that are starting to publish this information are putting it on their state — either department of health or governor's — websites. That is something that I think that consumers should be asking their state to be making public. 

[00:32:09]Jean Setzfand:  Great. As they're asking and demanding this information, quite frankly, you mentioned the Department of Health, also the governor's site. Who should they turn to? To whom should they be making these requests if they're not finding enough information? 

[00:32:09]Lori Smetanka:  I think they certainly can be starting with their facility and asking them to make sure that the information is made available to them. But also, I think they should be contacting their governor's office [and] their state legislators to ask to make that information public, and work with your advocates in your state. Your long-term care ombudsman program is a good advocate, as well as your AARP chapter, to help raise your voices to be asking for this information to be made public in your state.

[00:32:40]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thank you for that, Lori. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone? 

[00:32:48]Kevin Craiglow:  Jean, we're going to Barbara from Maryland. 

[00:32:52]Jean Setzfand:  Barbara, what's your question for us? 

[00:32:54]Barbara:  Yes, my husband is in a nursing home, and I'm concerned about the management of medical care. I just recently received a call that his behavior and out-bursts, they … they just can't control it, but they're not looking at it that his feet have been swollen for a period of time, and I've asked them to contact his doctor and he's been on medication. So I wanted to know, they are now asking me that I get an aide to come in to sit with him so that that aide would be able to control his behavior.

[00:33:33]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Barbara, thank you so much for your question. Sorry for your circumstances right now. Let me turn to [Charlene] Harrington … you heard about Barbara's situation. Any guidance you can give her in terms of what she's hearing from her facility? 

[00:33:49]Charlene Harrington:  Well, I agree that it would be good. I think you could call the doctor directly, but it might be a good idea to get an aide if you could possibly do that because it might calm him down and help him with it, deal with the loneliness issue, because I think the staff are so busy, they really don't have time to converse with people and do things that would help calm the patient themselves. Or maybe you have a volunteer friend that's young and healthy that would be willing to do it, to go there, at least maybe a couple of hours a day, and if they had a mask and gown, and if they made sure they weren't positive for the virus, that might be a good idea.

[00:34:53]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Lori, Claudette, any additional guidance to provide on this topic? 

[00:35:00]Lori Smetanka:  Sure. … I think that the facilities still have a responsibility to meet the medical needs of the residents that they're caring for. And, oftentimes when we see and hear some of the outbursts that residents are having, that's indicating — as I think the caller is sharing — unmet needs that need to be addressed; that some need of the person is not being addressed and that requires the facility to assess the person for what that need is. I would certainly encourage you to ask them to do an assessment and care plan, relook at that for your husband, to look at what are the needs potentially that are not being met. Certainly contact the doctor. You can call them yourself and ask for an intervention and for a review of what is going on there. And certainly, contact your ombudsman program for help in your area. 

[00:35:59] The callers and listeners can find their ombudsman through The Consumer Voice website at theconsumervoice.org. We have a map, a national map on our page where folks can click on their state, and they can find the contact information for an ombudsman in their area, and they can assist you as well with some of the challenges that you may be experiencing. 

[00:36:23]Jean Setzfand:  Terrific. Thank you so much for that resource, Lori, and let me just repeat that for our listeners again. You can go to consumervoice.org if you want to get in contact with your state ombudsman. Thank you for that. 

[00:36:41]Lori Smetanka:  I'm sorry, Jean, it's … theconsumervoice.org. 

[00:36:47]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for clarifying. 

[00:36:48]Lori Smetanka:  theconsumervoice.org. Thank you. 

[00:36:49]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you. Three words, t-h-e, theconsumervoice.org. Thank you so much for that, Lori. All right, let's turn to the phones again for another caller. Kevin, who do we have on the line for our next call? 

[00:37:04]Kevin Craiglow:  Hi Jean. We actually have another question from a viewer from, this time from YouTube. We didn't get a name, but the viewer asks, “How can families be certain nursing home staff are being tested and have needed PPEs?”

[00:37:23]Jean Setzfand:  Great, so how can families be certain that nursing home staff are being tested and have the proper protective equipment, personal protective equipment, PPE? So let me turn to Claudette. Claudette, from your vantage point from New York, what's your view on that? 

[00:37:42]Claudette Royal:  When the staff are coming in the building, they are being monitored and their temperature is being taken; they are being evaluated for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 every time they enter the building. And as for personal pro-tective equipment, PPE, the facilities are really pushing to make sure that they have all of that equipment and are utilizing it, and those are questions you should definitely ask the facility when you call. Are they having their personal protection equipment? Are they having difficulty getting that personal protective equipment? 

[00:38:10] We have been assisting facilities with referring them to their Offices of Emer-gency Management to ensure that they have those supplies, because they are key right now to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they are the key pieces that are need-ed. They are being monitored and pursuing testing is needed, but we've talked about testing and the difficulties with testing right now. 

[00:38:32]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. … Let me also remind folks that sometimes hearing a friendly voice during this challenging time can be helpful. At AARP Community Connections, a toll-free service for all adults 18 and over, we have trained staff volun-teers standing by to provide a friendly call … and also just to say hello. If you'd like to speak with somebody Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, please call 888-281-0145 and leave us your information. A volunteer will call you back, and if you prefer to set up a recurring call — like every Wednesday at 2 p.m. for a check-in — that's also available. Again, this is a free service called AARP Community Connections for all adults, regardless of membership, and we do also offer some bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Again, that number for AARP Community Connections is 888-281-0145. And if you stay on the line at the end of this call, we'll also provide an easy option for you to be directly connected to the service, AARP Community Connections. 

[00:39:56] All right, let's hear more from our experts. Let me bring [Charlene] Harring-ton back into this conversation … Are there additional noncare factors one should con-sider before removing a loved one from a facility? What do you think about that?

[00:40:12]Charlene Harrington:  Well, I think the main factor is the living environment. Do you have stairs, or do you have a bedroom on the ground floor, or what kind of set-up do have so that you could manage the person easily? If they're not able to walk up-stairs or downstairs, that that could be a factor. I think primarily the environmental fac-tors; but I'm assuming that a lot of people would be staying at home, so they would be able to help someone, but they might need additional help. So that's a factor because then you'd be bringing someone into the house that could expose the family to the vi-rus, but that you might be able to try to get that person tested.

[00:41:29]Jean Setzfand:  Right. Good for us to consider that, both in terms of testing for people in facilities and also outside and also environmental factors; are really good considerations to think about, to stop and think about before also removing a loved one from a facility. So a good guidance on that. 

[00:41:45] Lori, let me also turn to you. How do families cope with these difficult cir-cumstances? There's definitely a lack of control, a lack of contact, fear for a loved one. All of this is so overwhelming. How much of this is actually avoidable? 

[00:42:02]Lori Smetanka:  Thanks, Jean. We know that this whole situation has been ex-ceptionally difficult for the families and for the residents. We have been hearing from them directly; they're fearful about what they're hearing in the news, they're con-cerned that they can't go in and see what's going on and are worried about the isola-tion. It's really important that the families stay engaged and push for good information from and communication with the long-term care facility, as has been mentioned be-fore. The facilities should be regularly communicating with families and resident repre-sentatives, but the families shouldn't hesitate to ask questions of the facility. Ask them about what their plan is to protect the residents during this situation; ask about the number of staff they have on hand to provide care; what their backup plan is; if they don't have enough staff that come in for the day, if staff are calling out sick, for example; and also be asking about how many residents and staff have tested positive for the COVID illness. 

[00:43:04] I know it was mentioned earlier, the resource that AARP has been distrib-uting with questions that they can be asking back; it's a terrific resource, and we at The Consumer Voice also have a fact sheet for residents and family members on what they can do and other tips for staying engaged, including some of the questions they can be asking of the facility, and also in engaging with the family council that may exist at the nursing home. That also can be accessed on our website. 

[00:43:34] So communication really is key here. Staying in communication with the fa-cility in terms of asking the questions and getting information about what is going on there. That's the most important part. And if you're having concerns about that, again, I like to refer folks to their long-term care ombudsman programs. They are still available even though they're not going into facilities right now to handle complaints and talk with residents; they still are available to respond to complaints and are doing so virtual-ly in every state around the country. And they are a very good resource if you have con-cerns or need help about what's going on in the facility.

[00:44:17]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that. Good reminders that you abso-lutely should keep an open line of communication with the facility. This is no time to be shy. You need to be a consumer advocate for the person, the people that you love that are in facilities. So definitely be reaching out and asking for as much information as possible.

[00:44:36] Let me just repeat some of the resources that Lori referenced before. You can also find information about the long-term care ombudsman at theconsum-ervoice.org, and there have been several mentions of the questions — that you should ask if your loved one is quarantined in a facility — from AARP. You can find that again at AARP.org/coronavirus. There's a lot of information there, and I'd just invite all of you to check that out. 

[00:45:10] All right. Let's see if there are more calls on the line. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone right now? 

[00:45:18]Kevin Craiglow:  Absolutely. Jean, we're going to go to Frank from Connecti-cut. 

[00:45:26]Jean Setzfand:  Frank, welcome. 

[00:45:29]Frank:  Good afternoon. I have a 93-year-old mom in an assisted living facility, and very regularly we hear in the news, the local news, the number of cases of infec-tions and deaths in nursing homes, but we hear very little about assisted living facilities. And I'm just wondering if, you know, sometimes if the statistics are bulking health care facilities all together — assisted living and nursing homes? And I've tried to actually con-tact the assisted living facility, recently successfully, of course, but I asked it a very di-rect question as to how many infections have they had. One notification was sent out through email that they did have a resident that was infected. I subsequently, after that, have called and asked how many more residents had been affected since then. And they tell me that they can't disclose that information. So, with my 93-year-old mom being in that facility, I'm concerned as to what kind of precautions they're taking. They tell us what they're telling me. They're telling us what they're doing — the mask and the gloves and so forth, and limited contact. They've been now isolated and quaran-tined into their apartments. But there's, since then, some staff members who've been tested positive. But I have no idea the volume of infections that are going on there, and I need to find out how I could find that out. 

[00:46:59]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for your question, Frank. Claudette, let me get your guidance on this right now. Granted this is not a New York case, but how would you answer that question for Frank?

[00:47:11]Claudette Royal:  First, I would say you could potentially access your Connect-icut State Ombudsman Program, because they may have information on your specific facility as to the number of cases that are positive in that facility. And also, as we've mentioned earlier, there has been ... CMS put out guidance for reporting, and once those reporting, they're looking to have it be publicly documented so that people can access it. It's to come. We don't have an actual link yet or a reference point, but it's coming where that information will be public from CMS to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But I would say for your specific facility, to contact the state ombudsman program; they may have that information on that specific facility.

[00:47:54]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that. 

[00:47:55]Charlene Harrington:  Yes, I think you should also contact your county public health office because the facility has to report to the county public health office when they have the virus, and [the office] might be able to tell you.

[00:48:19]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that additional piece. 

[00:48:21]Charlene Harrington:  By the way, we're strongly urging the counties to make this data public. And we know some counties are doing it, but many counties are not.

[00:48:34]Jean Setzfand:  Very helpful. Lori, I wonder if you want to also weigh in on this as well, just between Frank's noting that there's a difference between the treat-ment of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. What are your thoughts on that?

[00:48:47]Lori Smetanka:  Absolutely. It's very concerning to us, and he's absolutely right. We are seeing much more attention being paid to nursing homes … and the thing about assisted living is, it's less regulated than nursing homes. The oversight is at the state level, not at the federal level. So, it is an area where we need to continue to raise our voices and be demanding that the information be made public. The excuse that the facility gave about how it can't give the information and make it public — we don't buy that. We're not asking for the names of the specific people who have been infected, simply just the numbers that have been tested positive or infected with the virus. And so it is something that we would encourage you, again, to contact your governor's of-fice, your state legislators, and ask them to require that that information be made pub-lic and that it be posted so everyone can be informed about what is going on in these, not only nursing homes, but also assisted living facilities.

[00:49:58]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. [Charlene] , I might've moved off of your guidance a little bit too early. Did you have any final thoughts on this issue? 

[00:50:06]Charlene Harrington:  Oh, I totally agree with Lori. I think we need to be in-sisting that the counties and the governors' offices be reporting on all assisted living and residential care facilities. So … I think public pressure is the most important thing to have right now.

[00:50:32]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. Well, we want to hear more from all of our listen-ers. 

[00:50:45] We're going to get back to your questions very soon, but before we do so, I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. 

[00:50:54] Scammers are, unfortunately, trying to get your money and personal infor-mation by pitching fake cures, offering bogus investments, impersonating medical pro-fessionals to collect payments, and posing as global health authorities to collect email, to conduct email campaigns designed to load malicious software on your device [and] steal passwords and other credentials. 

[00:51:15] Google recently reported that they filtered more than 18 million phishing and malware emails every day from their email service. And yesterday, the Justice De-partment said, “U.S. law enforcement agencies and website operators have taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites, including some that spoof government programs and entities.” If you can spot a scam, you can definitely stop a scam. So go to AARP.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn how you can spot and avoid COVID-19 and other scams. You can also report scams or actually get help if you've been victimized or be-lieve you've been victimized through AARP's Fraud Watch Network helpline, and that number is 877-908-3360. Again, that helpline is 877-908-3360. 

[00:52:10] Again, for more information or to access recordings of our recent AARP con-versations around the coronavirus with leading experts, I invite you to go to AARP.org/coronavirus. There you'll find very helpful resources, including the article that we mentioned before called “The Six Questions to Ask If Your Loved One Is in a Quaran-tined Facility.”

[00:52:34] Again, it's time to address your questions with our experts. Lori Smetanka, of the National Consumer Voice for the Quality of Long-Term Care; Claudette Royal, with the New York State Office for the Aging; and Charlene Harrington from the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.

[00:52:52] All right, let's turn to more questions. Kevin, who else do we have on the line? 

[00:53:05]Kevin Craiglow:  Our next call comes from Karen in New York, Jean. 

[00:53:10]Jean Setzfand:  All right, Karen, welcome. What's your question for us?

[00:53:13]Karen:  Yes. I think my question has already been answered, but I'll just ask it anyway. My parent is in a combination of senior living, independent living, assisted liv-ing, nursing home. She is in independent living, so occasionally she can come out, but I've been her caretaker where I change her bed linen, as well as do her groceries and a few other responsibilities. But yet, they're classifying me as a visitor; therefore, I'm not able to go in now. What rights do I have that I need to contact someone there or someone within our county? 

[00:53:59]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for your question. Since this is a question from New York, Claudette, let me begin with you. 

[00:54:08]Claudette Royal:  Are you looking to have contact with your family member? They're not giving you contact to your family member?

[00:54:14]Jean Setzfand:  Unfortunately we can't do a follow-up with the caller, Karen, but it sounds like ...

[00:54:20]Claudette Royal:  If you're looking to have contact with your family member, and you're having difficulty with that, you can certainly reach out to your local om-budsman program in the county that you’re in, and you can access that through The Consumer Voice, which Lori has mentioned the website for that, and so has the moder-ator. And you can also reach us on our website, which is LTCombudsman.ny.gov, and you can access your local program there. I would reach out to them; they can assist you with getting access to your family member. We have had success with that with families reaching out and talking with the facilities and facilitating that communication and mak-ing those arrangements.

[00:54:59]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. I'll repeat those resources again. It's The Consumer Voice at, three words, theconsumervoice.org to get access to your om-budsman, as well as the LTCombudsman.ny.gov. thank you for that, Claudette. All right, who else do we have, Kevin? 

[00:55:17]Kevin Craiglow:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is Monica from New Jersey.

[00:55:21]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Monica. What's your question? 

[00:55:23]Monica:  Hi, thanks for taking the call. My question is, I have my 89-year-old mother-in-law. We were looking at putting her into one of these combination centers, a senior/independent/memory care unit, and that was before all this happened. We had our list shortlisted down based on interviews we did. And luckily, we didn't pull the trigger and make the switch and are now very glad we didn't. But, you know, very soon we will have to, because it's getting beyond the control of what the family can handle. She needs a memory care unit. So my question is, what questions should I now be ask-ing these facilities, because obviously it's a whole new world before we put her some-where.

[00:56:11]Jean Setzfand:  Great question. Lori, let me begin with you. In light of what's happened, what are the right questions to be asking as you're looking at facilities now? 

[00:56:22]Lori Smetanka:  So as people are looking for long-term care and services, cer-tainly they need to be asking general questions about what type of care and services are provided, what the costs are related to that, looking at the contract and what their rights are with respect to moving from setting to setting. Since you're looking at a con-tinuing care retirement community, who makes the decisions about who moves from one setting to another if you need higher levels of care and what the charges are if you need to be bringing in additional assistance?

[00:56:55] But during this time of the COVID crisis, we would also recommend that you ask about, well, generally you should be asking about staffing levels that are available in all of the different settings as well. But during this COVID crisis, I think you should also be asking about emergency plans. For example, how are they protecting the residents and the staff from the spread of infection within the different settings?

[00:57:23] How were they communicating with family members about conditions in a facility, and what's going on? Do they have enough staff to care for the residents in the different levels that are available within the retirement community? And what are their backup plans if they are short on staff? Do they have enough personal protective equipment and testing to ensure that they're keeping on top of what's going on and that they're able to identify quickly whether or not people have been infected with the virus? 

[00:57:58] So asking the additional questions about the COVID-related issues that we've been talking about today, I think, are critically important. While we're in this crisis — but even after — be asking questions about how they're going to protect your family member from the spread of infection.

[00:58:16]Jean Setzfand:  That's very helpful. Thank you so much, Lori. All right, let's turn to our next caller. Kevin, who's our next caller? 

[00:58:23]Kevin Craiglow:  We actually have a question from Facebook Live, Jean. It comes from Bob. Bob wants to know, “Are residents in facilities able to receive mail? I've heard that some facilities are no longer picking up their mail.”

[00:58:38]Jean Setzfand:  Perfect. Do you know about the situation and facilities related to receiving mail?

[00:58:51]Charlene Harrington:  I have not heard of any facility not getting their mail, but I think maybe we should ask Lori or ... 

[00:58:58]Jean Setzfand:  OK. Lori or Claudette, have you heard about situations related to receiving … it sounds like snail mail in this case. 

[00:59:09]Lori Smetanka:  Residents should still be getting their mail. The mail is still being delivered all across the country, including to long-term care facilities. The resi-dents have the right to receive the mail and the packages that are being sent to them. We have been hearing some situations where in order to put some time between when the deliveries are occurring, and trying to eliminate the live virus that may be living on packages that could be delivered, that there might be a slight delay in when things are being delivered to the actual residents, but they should still be getting the mail, and the facilities should be taking precautions to ensure that things that are being delivered are wiped down or disinfected to whatever extent possible. But still, the residents should still be getting any packages that are delivered to them. 

[01:00:05]Jean Setzfand:  Very helpful. Claudette, are you hearing anything differently in New York?

[01:00:09]Claudette Royal:  We are hearing that residents are receiving their mail, but for the most part, yes. And to Lori's point, they're making sure that they're cleaning off those packages before they're delivering them to the residents to prevent the spread of the virus.

[01:00:22]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you. All right, let's turn back to the phones. Kevin, who do we have on the line next? 

[01:00:27]Kevin Craiglow:  Our next call is from Penny from Kentucky. 

[01:00:31]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Penny. What's your question for us? 

[01:00:34]Penny:  Oh, hello. Yes, my mom's 85 years old, and she's in a long-term nurs-ing home, and she's in the last stage of COPD. And they were telling me before this all happened that they were going to have to put her, probably it'd be anytime, in pallia-tive care, 'cause she was doing so poorly and really going downhill. I just wondered, now they say she's really shutting down. She's used to me being over there every day and taking her food, and I didn't know if I have more rights because she is in this long-term. I mean it is in the last stages of COPD. 'Cause I know there's health care workers that are going in that are used to being paid and [inaudible] over there for some of the patients. I didn't know what my rights were. They're treating me as a visitor, saying that I can't see her. And I suggested that I just want to even see if they could walk her to patio twice a week when the weather's nice. But they say, unless she's in the act of dy-ing, that I'm not able to see her.

[01:01:33]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for your question, Penny. I'm sorry about the cir-cumstances. In Penny's situation, what rights does she have? Are there things that she can ask more from the facility that her mother's in? 

[01:01:58]Charlene Harrington:  Yes, I would think that she would have the right to see the family. I don't know if they'd have the virus in the facility, or if they've been tested, but you might ask them to do testing. But I would have to refer to others more about the resident rights. Another possibility is to ask to have her put on hospice care, be-cause if she were on hospice, she would probably get more visits from care workers. 

[01:02:34]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. That's very helpful. Lori, any thoughts on Penny's rights here? 

[01:02:41]Lori Smetanka:  Yes. Since she's in a nursing home, despite the fact that there are restrictions on visitation, the federal government has issued guidance to facilities saying that if there is a need for compassionate care for the individuals living in the nursing homes — and one of the examples that they gave with respect to compassion-ate care is a person who is toward the end of their life — that there should be accom-modations made to assist the family to see the resident and potentially even be with them. There are some challenges that we're hearing about when this is actually being implemented, but it is something that the family should be asking for assistance, that this is a situation where compassionate care is necessary, and to ask what types of ac-commodations can be made so that you can be with her as she is nearing the end of her life. If you need assistance with that, again, we would refer you to the ombudsman pro-gram in your state, and they may be able to help you negotiate that with the facility in terms of what might be available for you to see your mother.

[01:03:56]Claudette Royal:  This is Claudette.

[01:03:58]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, Claudette. 

[01:03:59]Claudette Royal:  Can I answer that? We have had success with that in New York State, where families have contacted us in those situations and we've worked with the facility and been able to arrange some things — like some window visits for the fam-ily members and the resident. 

[01:04:14]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Wonderful, and thank you for your input, Lori, very clear guidance on that front as well, around compassionate care and reaching out to your ombudsman. All right, let's go back to the phones to see who we have on the line. Kevin, who's next in terms of all our callers? 

[01:04:32]Kevin Craiglow:  We have a call from Pamela in Maryland, Jean. 

[01:04:36]Jean Setzfand:  Pamela, hi. What's your question for us?

[01:04:38]Pamela:  Hi. I'm calling in reference to a friend that I have in a nursing home in the Philadelphia area. And unfortunately, we know that prior to COVID-19 in nursing homes, there have been incidents of abuse and neglect. And what my question is at this time with COVID, are there specific guidelines? And if so, is there monitoring of the treatment of residents of nursing homes who have tested positive for COVID-19?

[01:05:24]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for your question, Pamela. Claudette, let me turn to you as the ombudsman to answer this question first. 

[01:05:33]Claudette Royal:  If there are concerns related to abuse and neglect, they should still be reported to the regulatory agency. The regulatory agency should be going in, and they are still investigating concerns related to abuse and neglect. So if there is that question, it should be reported to the local regulatory agency, which in my state is the Department of Health. 

[01:05:55]Jean Setzfand:  So for Pamela, similarly, and for her friend in Philadelphia, that would be the Department of Health and Pennsylvania, I assume. Lori, anything to add to that question or guidance on that front? 

[01:06:11]Lori Smetanka:  Sure. I agree with Claudette that if there are concerns about abuse or neglect or care issues, that they can be filing a complaint with the Department of Health. While they are going in only for situations that, are they considered to be immediate jeopardy or that are related to infection control issues, it is important that the complaints still be filed. In some states, Adult Protective Services also handles com-plaints about abuse in long-term care facilities, so that's another possible option. And the ombudsman program is another option for filing a complaint if you have concerns about abuse or neglect in a facility in terms of having them help you identify what other resources might be available or how to get help to the individual that you are con-cerned about.

[01:07:12]Jean Setzfand:  OK. Thanks so much for that, Lori. All right, Kevin, let's see who else is on the line. Who's our next caller? 

[01:07:19]Kevin Craiglow:  Our next caller is Minerva from Arizona. 

[01:07:23]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Minerva. What's your question for us?

[01:07:29]Minerva:  Hello? 

[01:07:30]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. Hello? Minerva. Go ahead with your question.

[01:07:34]Minerva:  Oh, I just got up. I've been waiting all this time. OK, my question is, when you have a loved one who has passed on in a nursing facility, what is the standard procedure? 

[01:07:47]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for your question. Lori, do you have any guidance for Minerva in this situation?

[01:07:57]Lori Smetanka:  So if a loved one has passed on in a facility, I don't have all of the details about what occurs there, but certainly the facility should be working with the family to ensure that the resident's final wishes are followed through and that the family certainly can arrange for burial or whatever final arrangements that it is that the resident had wanted to occur. Beyond that, I would need to know more about what it is that she's asking, I think, in order to see if there was additional information that I could be providing. 

[01:08:44]Jean Setzfand:  Right. I think there might be a clarification that we just re-ceived, that if the person had died of coronavirus; I guess there's two parts to that, both in terms of getting information, as well as the treatment from the facility. On the for-mer, in terms of the information, is there any additional guidance you have on that front? 

[01:09:05]Lori Smetanka:  The facility is required to report the incidences of cases of coronavirus in the facility, as well as the deaths, to the state Department of Health, and now they're going to be required to report to the CDC as well, so that there should be better data that's being provided to both of those agencies. And they certainly should be protecting the rest of the residents in the facility, and also notifying residents and family members whenever there are new cases or deaths related to the coronavirus. That's the information that we think should be made public, but certainly a facility has a responsibility to be sharing the number of cases and the number of deaths with the res-idents and the family members. Again, they don't have to say who it is, but they should be sharing the total numbers with the residents and the families.

[01:10:07]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. All right, let's move to our next caller. Kev-in, who do we have on the line? 

[01:10:13]Kevin Craiglow:  Our next caller is Barbara from Alabama. 

[01:10:17]Jean Setzfand:  Barbara, what's your question for us? 

[01:10:20]Barbara:  Hello? 

[01:10:21]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. Hello? 

[01:10:22]Barbara:  Yes, I'm calling from Montgomery, Alabama. 

[01:10:28]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, hello.

[01:10:29]Barbara:  Hello, how are you? I have a brother in a nursing home in Mont-gomery, Alabama, and I would like to know, will they be able to give out information concerning my brother.

[01:10:43]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for your question. I think it's a common question that we’ve heard today. Let me begin, let me go back to Lori, and then I'll also have our other experts provide some guidance. We've heard this over and over again, what should people expect in terms of getting information from facilities?

[01:11:06]Lori Smetanka:  So certainly the facility should be ensuring that family mem-bers — particularly if they're the resident's legal representative or are close contacts — should be getting direct reports about that individual person, and the facility should be ensuring that they have an opportunity to talk with or connect with that person as well. 

[01:11:32] With respect to whether ... if this is a person who is not the direct repre-sentative of the resident, certainly connecting with other family members, I think, would be important, or asking her brother for permission to get information about what is occurring with him and getting, hopefully, the ability to talk with him and hear more about what his condition is in the facility. But I think that the facility does have a re-sponsibility to share information about a resident's status with that resident's legal rep-resentative or the person who's designated as the primary contact. That's who they will be sharing information with. 

[01:12:23]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. Any additional guidance to provide? 

[01:12:31]Claudette Royal:  I agree with Lori. It's based on who the representative is; [that’s] whom they'll release the information to. So if you are the contact person for your brother, they should be able to provide you with information on his status and how he is doing, and potentially set up a visit virtually, or a telephone call with him, if that's possible.

[01:12:49]Jean Setzfand:  OK, thank you. Thank you for clarifying that further. All right, let's turn back to the phone lines. Kevin, who else do we have on the phone? 

[01:12:57]Kevin Craiglow:  Lots of questions today, Jean. Let's go to Sylvia from Michi-gan. 

[01:13:02]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Sylvia.

[01:13:03]Sylvia:  Hello, you may have answered this already, but since the COVID-19 is a national, you know, it's a pandemic, and you said that the nursing homes are regulated by the federal government, is it correct to think, assume that everybody in a nursing home has been tested? Basically a requirement? 

[01:13:29]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that question, Sylvia. Is it safe to assume that everybody in a facility has been tested since these are regulated at the federal level? 

[01:13:46]Charlene Harrington:  No, no. Definitely not, because the testing is done at the county or the local level. And it varies widely by county, and there has been a lack of ability to get testing to the nursing homes. So that's the thing that concerns everyone so much, because we know that lots of staff and lots of residents already have the virus, but they haven't been tested and they may have symptoms or may not. So it's still a big problem, but I think it probably varies a lot by state, too.

[01:14:32]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, unfortunately, I think the testing situation is still not good, but thank you for clarifying that for Sylvia. All right, Kevin, do we have additional calls on the line?

[01:14:45]Kevin Craiglow:  We do. We have a question from Wendy in Connecticut. 

[01:14:49]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Wendy, what's your question?

[01:14:52]Wendy:  Hi, thank you for doing this today. It has been informative. I have a 93-year-old mom in an assisted living facility, and they have been relatively good at communicating through email and phone calls to report. There has been a resident that has tested positive and several staff members who have, and they refer to providing the staff with PPE. And I just wonder what level of PPE ... I should expect or should be re-quired, especially for the staff people who are coming in contact — physical contact — with the resident? Because, for instance, my mom has someone who helps her dress and helps her bathe. So a PPE could be face mask, face shield, gloves, gowns. What level should I expect they should be wearing when they come in contact with my mom? 

[01:15:46]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that, Wendy, very good question. In terms of expectations for protective gear, personal protective equipment, what should Wendy expect from the facility when caring for her mother?

[01:16:06]Charlene Harrington:  I certainly think she should expect that they would wear a mask. And even if they don't have the virus in the facility … I know a lot of facili-ties are not doing that, unfortunately. They might want to wear gloves, but as long as they did handwashing, I don't know that they would have to wear gloves as long as they don't have the virus. But if they have the virus in the facility, they need to be wearing masks and gloves and gowns, and have an adequate supply so they can be changing those frequently. 

[01:16:48]Jean Setzfand:  Right. And then when it comes to handwashing, how are nurs-ing homes actually able to enforce the handwashing of their staff? 

[01:16:58]Charlene Harrington:  Well, they should have supervision by registered nurs-es. Each nursing home is supposed to have an infection preventionist. That means it's somebody who's just responsible for looking at infection control, but we don't really know if nursing homes are actually doing that, and if they're monitoring their infections. We've decided, during this crisis, we would think they should have a full-time person doing that, especially if they have the virus. 

[01:17:37] So, I guess because they're so short on staff, handwashing is not always done in nursing homes. And it's so important at all times, even before we had this virus, be-cause we know there are lots of infections in nursing homes and it is spread by staff from resident to resident. And we know in the nursing home each nursing assistant should only have around seven residents to take care of during the day and on the eve-nings. And if they have more than that, then they're likely to be omitting care; and in-fection control is going to be a problem. 

[01:18:34]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. We are coming close to the end of our event. Let's see if we can take a few more calls. Kevin, who else do we have on the line? 

[01:18:45]Kevin Craiglow:  Sure, Jean, our next call is from Trish in New York. 

[01:18:50]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Trish, what’s your question? 

[01:18:52]Trish:  My mom's in an assisted living, and about 85 percent of the residents there do have the virus, and anecdotally I've heard about maybe 12 to 15 deaths. So we're considering bringing her into my home. I am not a health care professional, by any stretch. I do have a home health aide that goes to her about four hours a day, and I will look into expanding the hours once we bring her into the home. But I am looking for some sort of resources for me on how to properly lift her. She's immobile and bedbound or wheelchair bound. So how can I properly lift her? I have to properly check her to ensure that she doesn't have a wet diaper and turn her to ensure she doesn't get bedsores. Are there any resources available for me? 

[01:19:50]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for your question, Trish. Any guidance for Trish in terms of proper home care when she brings her mother home? 

[01:20:02]Lori Smetanka:  Certainly, it would be important to really know and under-stand what her needs are. If there is an aide that is already working with her that you would tend to bring into the home, certainly engage with them on how they are caring for her and what the care practices are that they are following with her. I would have to do more research on looking at what resources might be available on providing care services to someone with special needs. I, unfortunately, don't have a good resource to direct her to at this time. I'm sorry about that. 

[01:20:43]Jean Setzfand:  That's all right. Thank you so much, Lori. Let me just open this up to others. Any guidance for Trish in New York in terms of moving her mother home? 

[01:20:56]Claudette Royal:  This is Claudette. As for training for transfers and things, the facility should be able to have staff provide that training to you, as well as how to ap-propriately transfer your loved one before you were bringing them home. And also pos-sibly a home care agency that may be able to put in some physical therapy if that's needed for training as well. 

[01:21:19]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. 

[01:21:21]Charlene Harrington:  And there are some caregiver training programs online. It depends on the state and the location. There's also an organization called the Family Caregivers Alliance nationally, and they have a lot of resources for family caregivers.

[01:21:44]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that, too. All right, I'm mindful of our time and unfortunately, we are up to the bottom of our event. So before we close, I'd love to ask each of our distinguished panelists to give us any closing thoughts, beginning with Lori. What are some recommendations you have for AARP members that they should under-stand most from our conversation today?

[01:22:12]Lori Smetanka:  I think just a couple things. One is to remember that the resi-dents should be getting the care and services they need even during this time in COVID crisis, that communication is really key here, asking your facility for information and up-dates to know what's going on in the facility. And also, making your voices heard in terms of the need for additional supplies and testing in long-term care facilities. Let your governors' offices and legislators know that that is really necessary, and that these facilities need to be prioritized for the testing and the supplies.

[01:22:55]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much. 

[01:22:58]Claudette Royal:  Following Lori's thoughts, very much so. And also, just mak-ing sure that we are thinking about the residents being socially isolated at this time, and trying our best to reach out to those facilities and arrange that contact with the residents. They do need to have that interaction. It should be a priority for them, and the facilities should be allowing you to have that. So you really should be reaching out and trying to arrange those, either virtual visits or telephone visits. 

[01:23:25]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much. 

[01:23:30]Charlene Harrington:  Yes. I agree with what's been said, and I think that the main thing is not to be shy and not to worry about bothering the facility. I think it's im-portant to have contact with them and to find out what's going on, and also to work with your local organizations, whether it's AARP or the ombudsman or The Consumer Voice, because if you're having problems, let them know and try to work through the organizations to really make sure that we get the care that's needed for people during this crisis.

[01:24:20]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Wonderful reminders from our panelists today. It has been an informative discussion. This is a really devastating situation that we're going through. I want to thank each of you for your clear guidance and a reminder to ensure that we keep the lines of communication open with the facilities, and also, just to kind of reiterate Charlene Harrington and what all three of our guests said, it's far from the time to be shy. Really, it's time to speak up and really demand that we care for our loved ones no matter where they are. So to wrap up, I want to thank all of you, our AARP members, volunteers, listeners for participating in our discussion today.

[01:25:03] And again, if you'd like a call from a friendly voice, contact AARP Community Connections. This is a free service for all adults regardless of membership, and we do, again, offer some bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Contact AARP Community Connections by calling 888-281-0145. 

[01:25:30] AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, and we've been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for 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 and to prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All the resources referenced, includ-ing a recording of today's Q&A event, can be found at AARP.org/coronavirus. Go there if you have questions that weren't addressed today; you'll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

[01:26:36] We hope you learned something that will keep you and your family healthy. This evening, in fact, we have another event, where we're going to focus on the discus-sion of the disparate impact of the coronavirus. Please be sure to tune back in for our regular AARP tele-town hall on Thursday, April 30, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, where we'll discuss the issue of multigenerational caregiving.

[01:27:07] Thank you, again. Have a wonderful day. This concludes our call. 

 

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 23, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola. Soy Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta sénior de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. AARP, una organización de membresía, sin fines de lucro y no partidista ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los los adultos mayores de Estados Unidos 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. Hoy hablaremos con expertos sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus en hogares de ancianos, centros de vida asistida, y centros de enfermería especializada, y compartiremos información y recursos para ayudarlo a cuidar a su ser querido.

Si ha participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabe que esto es muy similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio, y tendrá la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Si desea hacer una pregunta sobre el cuidado de un ser querido en un hogar de ancianos o en un centro de vida asistida, por favor presione * 3 en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre, pregunta y lo ubicará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Nuevamente, si desea hacer una pregunta, presione * 3.

Hola. Si recién se unen a nosotros, soy Jean Setzfand de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Hablaremos con expertos líderes y responderemos preguntas en vivo. Nuevamente, para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3. Hoy tenemos con nosotras a tres distinguidos invitados.

Primero, tenemos a Lori Smetanka, directora ejecutiva de National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. A continuación, tenemos a Claudette Royal, defensora del pueblo del estado de Nueva York de la Oficina para el Envejecimiento del estado de Nueva York. Finalmente, tenemos a la Dra. Charlene Harrington, enfermera registrada, también miembro de la Academia Americana de Enfermería, Es profesora de Ciencias de la Conducta Social, Escuela de Enfermería de University of California en San Francisco. También nos acompaña mi colega de AARP, Kevin Craiglow. Kevin organizará y ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas en vivo hoy.

AARP está convocando esta teleasamblea para garantizar que usted tenga acceso a la información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien consideramos que AARP cumple un papel importante en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el coronavirus, debe tener en cuenta el hecho de que la mejor fuente Para información médica y de salud siguen siendo los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, también conocidos como CDC. Puede comunicarse con ellos en www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Este evento está siendo grabado, y puede acceder a la grabación desde www.aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después del evento. Hoy estamos recibiendo llamadas con expertos, sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus en los centros de atención para ancianos. Nuevamente, para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Este es, de hecho, un momento difícil para muchos. Y AARP aboga incansablemente por nuestros socios y todas las personas de 50 años o más durante la pandemia. Primero, AARP ha luchado para garantizar que los adultos mayores del país, cuya principal fuente de ingresos es el Seguro Social, sigan recibiendo el pago de hasta $1,200 bajo el reciente paquete de estímulo económico. También, hemos impulsado la ampliación de los beneficios del seguro de desempleo, así como la licencia por enfermedad pagada, las visitas virtuales en hogares de ancianos y la licencia familiar para las personas que necesitan tomarse un tiempo para cuidarse a sí mismos o a sus seres queridos.

Aquí en Washington, D.C. y en todo el país, abogamos por la seguridad de las personas en hogares de ancianos y centros de cuidado a largo plazo. Según una encuesta reciente del Wall Street Journal, más de 10,000 personas en hogares de ancianos, lamentablemente, han muerto por el coronavirus. Y en este momento, los hogares de ancianos y otras instalaciones están en modo de encierro y prohíben visitantes. AARP está luchando para ofrecer videollamadas en cada centro de atención de hogares de ancianos en todo el país. También estamos tratando de aumentar la transparencia sobre casos Confirmados de COVID-19 y pruebas de detección.

AARP también trabaja para asegurar equipos de protección personal eficiente para el personal y los residentes, para prevenir la propagación del virus. Además, AARP trabaja para garantizar que los residentes no sean despedidos o transferidos de manera inapropiada. Los cuidadores familiares necesitan y merecen estar completamente informados mientras toman decisiones por sí mismos y por sus seres queridos. Además, el personal remunerado y los voluntarios de AARP están en grupos de trabajo y acción en 20 estados, trabajando para asesorar a los gobernadores, alcaldes y sus equipos, para garantizar que las necesidades de los adultos mayores se aborden en las respuestas estatales y locales a la pandemia.

Esta semana es, de hecho, la Semana Nacional del Voluntario, y sería descuidado no reconocer las increíbles contribuciones de los socios de AARP, voluntarios y adultos mayores en todo el país que hicieron posible estas victorias a través de sus llamadas telefónicas y correos electrónicos. Muchas gracias por sus esfuerzos.

Ahora, déjenme darles la bienvenida formal a nuestros distinguidos invitados. Primero, nuevamente, tenemos a Lori Smetanka, quien es la directora ejecutiva de National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, la principal organización nacional de defensa, sin fines de lucro, que representa a los consumidores que reciben servicios de cuidado a largo plazo en hogares de ancianos, centros de vida asistida y en entornos de vida en el hogar y en comunidad.

De 2004 al 2016, Lori se desempeñó como directora del Centro Nacional de Recursos del Defensor del Pueblo para el Cuidado a Largo Plazo, brindando asistencia técnica, capacitación y apoyo a 53 estados y más de 570 programas locales del Defensor del Pueblo para el Cuidado a Largo Plazo en todo el país.

Luego, tenemos a Claudette Royal, la defensora del pueblo del estado de Nueva York, de la Oficina para el Envejecimiento del estado de Nueva York, quien es una defensora experimentada con 25 años de historia laboral en la industria del cuidado a largo plazo, los hospitales y la atención médica.

La Dra. Harrington es profesora emérita de Sociología y Enfermería en la Escuela de Enfermería de la UCSF. Al tener un gran interés profesional en la calidad y la regulación de los hogares de ancianos, formó parte del Comité del Instituto de Medicina de Regulación de Hogares de Ancianos, cuyo informe de 1986 condujo a la aprobación de la Ley de Reforma de Hogares de Ancianos de 1987. También testificó varias veces ante el Comité Especial del Senado de EE.UU. sobre el tema del envejecimiento. Gracias a todos por acompañarnos hoy. Comencemos esta discusión. Y permítanme recordarles a nuestros oyentes que si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3.

Lori, déjame recurrir a ti primero. Estamos escuchando muchas noticias devastadoras sobre hogares de ancianos en todo el mundo. Cuéntanos qué está sucediendo en los centros de atención para ancianos en este momento. Según las noticias, hay suministros inadecuados, escasez de personal, trabajadores enfermos que están alimentando una crisis que algunos calificaron de "zona cero" de la pandemia. ¿Cómo es verdaderamente la realidad en las instalaciones? ¿Y qué es lo que más necesitan realmente?

LORI SMETANKA: Muchas gracias por invitarme hoy, Jean. En este momento, en los centros de atención para personas mayores, hay restricciones significativas sobre quién puede ingresar y visitar, como has mencionado. La mayoría de los residentes tienen que quedarse en sus habitaciones, y todas las comidas y actividades comunales han sido canceladas. Los problemas que mencionó de los informes en las noticias, es decir, nuestra escasez de suministros, incluida la falta de equipos de protección personal y kits de prueba, la escasez significativa de personal, son reales en muchos lugares del país. Y esas son las cosas que más necesitan. Necesitan más personal. Necesitan el equipo de protección personal para resguardar a los residentes y al personal. Y necesitan la capacidad de hacer pruebas de detección a los residentes y el personal, de contagio de virus y también obtener resultados rápidos.

Mencionaste que a los hogares de ancianos se los llama "zona cero" de la pandemia. Los residentes de hogares de ancianos son particularmente vulnerables a la enfermedad COVID-19 debido a la naturaleza del entorno. No existe el distanciamiento físico allí. El personal debe estar muy cerca para brindar la atención personal que los residentes necesitan. Son condiciones adecuadas para que el virus se propague de residente en residente y de sala en sala. Los antiguos problemas de control de infecciones y la falta de personal son agravantes. Y el personal que trabaja en las instalaciones, a muchos de los cuales se les paga mal, no tienen licencia por enfermedad, y tienen múltiples trabajos, están cuidando a los residentes mientras que ellos mismos podrían estar infectados con el virus.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hay muchos problemas. Y pensemos de qué soluciones disponemos. ¿Cómo deberían, por ejemplo, responder los Gobiernos? ¿O hay ejemplos entre los estados que podrían estar funcionando mejor en algunos lugares en comparación con otros, que valga la pena copiar?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí. En este momento, los Gobiernos estatales y federales realmente deberían trabajar para obtener el equipo de protección personal y los kits de prueba que se necesitan con tanta urgencia en estas instalaciones. Necesitamos saber qué tan frecuente es la propagación de este virus entre el personal y los residentes.

Los Gobiernos estatales y federales también deberían realmente monitorear de cerca lo que sucede en cada instalación, solicitar informes diarios sobre casos, muertes la cantidad de suministros y kits de prueba disponibles y los niveles de personal que existen en las instalaciones, para que puedan concentrar los recursos disponibles en los lugares que más los necesitan. Uno de los modelos estatales que estamos comenzando a ver es la creación de equipos de respuesta rápida o de acción en los estados. Actualmente existen en Maryland, Maine, Wisconsin y algunos otros, donde están enviando equipos dedicados que pueden evaluar y responder rápidamente a las instalaciones que necesitan ayuda adicional, enviando profesionales médicos, capacitación, equipos y suministros a los lugares que más lo necesitan.

JEAN SETZFAND: Es bueno ver emerger algunos modelos prometedores. Ahora, hablemos un poco sobre las instalaciones. ¿Están haciendo lo que deberían para garantizar la seguridad de los residentes, así como del personal? ¿Es adecuado? ¿Qué más deberían hacer?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí Bueno, sabemos que las instalaciones han recibido instrucciones de restringir quién puede entrar y salir, de detener las comidas y actividades congregadas. Creemos que también deben asegurarse de proporcionar la atención y los servicios que los residentes necesitan a diario. Y es fundamental que se aseguren de que el personal siga adecuadamente los protocolos de control de infecciones, y también que comuniquen las necesidades que tienen en la instalación y los desafíos que enfrentan a los Departamentos de Salud del estado y los CDC, para que la ayuda se pueda dirigir hacia ellos. Deben comunicar a los residentes y las familias sobre las condiciones en las instalaciones, compartir lo que están haciendo para proteger a los residentes y el personal, así como ofrecer a los residentes y las familias la capacidad de comunicarse entre sí de manera continua.

Los problemas de aislamiento y soledad son realmente críticos y exacerbados durante este tiempo. Y finalmente, creemos que las instalaciones realmente deberían estar apoyando al personal, asegurándose de que tengan la capacitación necesaria, los suministros que necesitan para cuidar a los residentes, y también ofreciéndoles beneficios adicionales, como pago, licencia por enfermedad y otros beneficios importantes que el personal necesita para continuar viniendo a trabajar durante este momento difícil.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias por eso, Lori. Claudette, déjame recurrir a ti. Estás inmersa en la situación, a cargo del rol de defensora del pueblo en el estado de Nueva York. ¿Qué preguntas deberíamos hacer a los hogares de ancianos y centros de vida asistida para asegurarnos de que nuestros seres queridos estén bien atendidos? ¿Qué sucede si no se obtienen respuestas o no se confía en la información que proviene de estos centros? Claudette, ¿qué te parece eso?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Hola. Gracias por invitarme hoy. Quiero decir que AARP preparó un muy buen cuestionario para sus socios con seis preguntas que se deberían hacer, por ejemplo: ¿alguien en el hogar de ancianos dio positivo para COVID-19? ¿Qué está haciendo el hogar de ancianos para prevenir la infección? ¿El personal del hogar de ancianos cuenta con el equipo de protección personal, como mascarillas, protectores faciales, batas y guantes, Qué necesitan para mantenerse a salvo y mantener a sus pacientes a salvo? ¿Qué está haciendo el hogar de ancianos para ayudar a los residentes a mantenerse conectados con sus familias o seres queridos durante este tiempo? ¿Y cuál es el plan para que el hogar de ancianos comunique información importante tanto a los residentes como a las familias de manera regular?

Y esas son muy buenas preguntas que, cuando los miembros de las familias llaman al centro deben hacer. Y también hemos desarrollado este cuestionario que les preguntamos a las instalaciones cuando nos contactamos con ellas, como ¿qué tipo de actividades realizan ahora con los residentes para asegurarse de que todavía tengan alguna interacción social entre ellos y con el personal? ¿Y cómo se están llevando a cabo las comidas en los centros para garantizar que los residentes estén siendo alimentados para prevenir la desnutrición? Ese tipo de cosas son las que estamos controlando actualmente cuando nos contactamos con ellos. Si tienen equipo de protección, esa es una pregunta, por supuesto, que hacemos. Si tienen algún caso de COVID-19, cómo están separando a sus residentes, cómo están protegiendo al personal y a los residentes, durante esta crisis.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, gracias. Muchas gracias. Gracias por su trabajo, también, de monitorear la situación en Nueva York. Sabemos, también, que los hogares de ancianos básicamente han prohibido a las familias visitar a los residentes durante este tiempo. ¿Qué pueden hacer las familias para comunicarse con sus seres queridos? ¿Y qué deberían esperar realmente de las instalaciones para ayudar a facilitar estas líneas de comunicación en este momento?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Es imperativo que los residentes tengan contacto con sus familias durante este tiempo, ya que no pueden ingresar a las instalaciones. Y tenemos, en Nueva York, muchas instalaciones que utilizan las tecnologías virtuales, como Skype o FaceTime, para que los residentes y las familias tengan ese contacto. En algunas áreas, realmente han podido tener contacto con más miembros de la familia en el país que no siempre podían ver. Así que, esa ha sido una de las cosas positivas que hemos escuchado en parte de nuestra región.

También tenemos la capacidad de comunicarnos con las instalaciones para asegurarnos de que envíen esa información a los miembros de la familia sobre cómo facilitar esas comunicaciones, por ejemplo, muchos tienen una línea telefónica dedicada a la que pueden llamar para programar una visita virtual con sus seres queridos. Y algunos de ellos se están comunicando dos o tres veces por semana con sus familiares en los centros a través de esa comunicación virtual o telefónica.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, Claudette. Es bueno saber que hay una conexión. Valoro eso. Dra. Harrington, voy a recurrir a usted. Creo que esta pregunta es algo que pesa en muchas de nuestras mentes. Y si uno realmente está pensando en sacar a un ser querido de un hogar de ancianos o centro de vida asistida, ¿cuáles son algunas de las consideraciones más importantes que debemos tener en cuenta al tomar esa decisión? ¿Qué piensa sobre eso, Dra. Harrington?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, ciertamente creo que los miembros de la familia deberían considerarlo, especialmente en hogares que han tenido los brotes del virus. Pero un problema es la posibilidad de que el residente ya tenga el virus. Tendrían que hacerse la prueba, porque muchos de los residentes y del personal son asintomáticos.

Por lo tanto, no puede suponer que no tienen el virus solo porque no muestran síntomas. Pero creo que un miembro de la familia tiene que pensar si tienen una vivienda apropiada donde puedan llevar al miembro de la familia a casa, y si podrían ayudar a cuidar de la persona ellos mismos, o si necesitarían recibir ayuda adicional para que esté con el residente. Pero si fuera posible, ciertamente creo que las familias deberían considerarlo seriamente durante esta crisis, al menos temporalmente, debido al hecho de que se está extendiendo tan rápidamente por los hogares y porque los residentes, por supuesto, son muy vulnerables. Pero también están siendo sometidos a tanto aislamiento y soledad en este momento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Definitivamente. Creo que una de las cosas a las que está apuntando, en términos de pruebas, es algo que también escuchamos a menudo de los consumidores. ¿Los hogares de ancianos están facilitando esas pruebas si está considerando sacar al residente? ¿O cuál es la mejor manera de acceder a esto? ¿Sigue siendo a través de médicos de atención primaria? ¿Alguna idea sobre eso?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Bueno, hemos estado instando a los gobernadores a priorizar los hogares de ancianos para evaluar a todos los residentes y el personal de cada hogar de ancianos. Creemos que deberían tener la máxima prioridad, en comparación con cualquier otra persona, debido a la vulnerabilidad. Y eso no parece estar sucediendo.

En muchos estados, como California, nos quedamos cortos con las pruebas. Pero creo que si un miembro de la familia insistiera, podrían lograr hacerse las pruebas. Creo que tendrían que hacer eso. Pero sí, nos preocupa mucho que haya pruebas inadecuadas. Y, por supuesto, no puede tratarse de una prueba única. Tiene que repetirse periódicamente.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por compartir sus ideas al respecto y su continuo apoyo, también. Ahora que hemos comenzado con un par de preguntas para nuestros invitados, tomemos algunas preguntas de nuestros oyentes. Es el momento de hacer preguntas sobre hogares de ancianos y centros de vida asistida a nuestros invitados, Lori Smetanka, Claudette Royal y la Dra. Harrington.

Si desea hacer una pregunta, recuerde, presione * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta. Ahora me gustaría volver a presentar a mi colega de AARP, Kevin Craiglow, quien me ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas en vivo. Bienvenido Kevin.

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Gracias Jean. Estoy feliz de estar aquí hoy en esta importante conversación.

JEAN SETZFAND: Maravilloso. Sé que están entrando llamadas, así que, adelante con la primera pregunta. ¿A quién tenemos en la línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Fantástico, Jean. Nuestra primera pregunta es de Rosa en Nueva York.

JEAN SETZFAND: Qué bien. Hola Rosa. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

ROSA: Hola, sí. Vivo en Long Island, Nueva York. Tengo un hijo autista de 36 años que vive en un hogar grupal. Y mi pregunta es, ¿los hogares grupales funcionan bajo las mismas pautas que los hogares de ancianos en el estado de Nueva York?

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Gracias por esa pregunta, Rosa. Permítanme dirigir esta pregunta a Lori y Claudette. Lori, déjame comenzar contigo. ¿Puedes ayudar a Rosa con esa pregunta sobre los hogares grupales?

LORI SMETANKA: Creo que los hogares grupales se regirán por las reglas estatales, que es diferente a los hogares de ancianos. Los hogares de ancianos se rigen por los requisitos federales. Existe una asociación entre el Gobierno federal y el estado. Pero los hogares grupales e incluso las instalaciones de vivienda asistida y el tipo de hogares de cuidado personal se rigen a nivel estatal. Y entonces, serían las reglas y requisitos estatales los que se aplicarían allí.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Dado que esta llamada es de Nueva York, Claudette, ¿puedo recurrir a ti para obtener orientación sobre este tema también?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Sí, eso pasaría por OPWDD, la Oficina de Personas con Discapacidades del Desarrollo, en lugar de las pautas de los hogares de ancianos.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gracias por esa información. Y esperemos que Rosa pueda comunicarse con esa oficina. Claudette, ¿puedes repetir eso de nuevo, en términos de qué oficina debe contactar nuestra oyente?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Claro. Sería OPWDD, Oficina para Personas con Discapacidades del Desarrollo.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias. Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién tenemos en línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Jean, nuestra próxima llamada proviene de Peggy en Míchigan.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Peggy. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

PEGGY: Hola, sí. Creo que respondieron mi pregunta. Mi madre está en el hogar de ancianos. Tiene 92 años. Y recibí una carta que decía que no ha sido examinada. Pero muchos residentes tienen el virus. Y me preguntaba, ¿podría ir a buscarla?

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias por esa pregunta. Escuchamos a la Dra. Harrington hablar un poco sobre ese tema antes. Déjame volver a Lori. ¿Tienes algún consejo adicional para Peggy en este momento?

 LORI SMETANKA: Ciertamente, como dijo la Dra. Harrington, hay ciertas consideraciones que debe tener antes de sacar a su familiar de las instalaciones. ¿Puede atenderlo en casa? ¿Qué tipo de atención necesita? Asegúrese de preguntar si podría regresar al hogar de ancianos después de que la crisis por COVID-19 haya terminado.

Pero ciertamente, los miembros de la familia tienen derecho a traer a sus familiares a casa. Pero, realmente, comprenda cuáles son sus necesidades de atención antes de hacer eso, y asegúrese de que pueda satisfacer esas necesidades para poder estar seguro de que recibirán la atención que requieren. Si necesita asistencia adicional de preguntas sobre necesidades de atención o incluso asistencia para abogar por las pruebas en su estado, sin duda, informe al Departamento de Salud de su estado y a las oficinas de su gobernador que se necesitan pruebas adicionales, hágase escuchar y solicite solicitar pruebas adicionales en su estado, es importante.

Y trabaje con su Oficina del Defensor del Pueblo en su estado. Cada estado tiene un programa de Defensor del Pueblo. De la misma manera que Claudette es el defensora del pueblo en el estado de Nueva York, cada estado tiene uno. Y puede comunicarse con ellos para obtener ayuda si tiene inquietudes sobre la atención en un centro o si necesita asistencia adicional.

JEAN SETZFAND: OK, gracias. Dra. Harrington, sé que ya intervino en esta pregunta antes. ¿Hay otros factores o consideraciones que Peggy debería tener en cuenta? Dra. Harrington.

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Sí. Creo que esas son las cosas principales que debes considerar. Pero no veo ninguna razón por la que no puedas sacar a alguien de allí si quieres. Realmente no te pueden prohibir que lo hagas.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por eso. Gracias por esa orientación nuevamente. Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Jean, nuestra próxima llamada proviene de Brenda en California.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Brenda. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

BRENDA: Hola. Hice esta pregunta antes, probablemente antes de que empezaran. Pero me preocupan las cosas que he estado leyendo en el periódico, y también porque tengo un amigo en un hogar de ancianos en el norte del estado de Nueva York que ahora están mudando de la comunidad a hogares de ancianos. Y leí un artículo del Wall Street Journal. Ahora estoy en línea buscando, a ver qué dicen otros periódicos. Pero sé que en Nueva York lo están haciendo porque vi un artículo sobre eso. Y también, en el hogar de ancianos de mi amigo ya se han mudado personas.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bueno. Muchas gracias por su pregunta.

 BRENDA: ¿Qué saben sobre eso? ¿O qué podemos hacer al respecto? Quiero saber qué se puede hacer al respecto, porque para mí, ya es un desafío tratar con las personas que están allí y las pruebas inadecuadas. Pero si nos mudamos de la comunidad a las instalaciones, eso me asusta aún más.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Correcto. Gracias por eso, Brenda. Dado que la pregunta está dirigida a Nueva York, en particular, Claudette, permíteme comenzar contigo. Parece que hay una pregunta sobre el traslado de residentes, pero también el traslado de residentes de la comunidad a instalaciones calificadas y centros de hogares de ancianos. ¿Alguna idea sobre eso?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Sí. En cuanto a trasladar residentes allí, en algunos casos, están trasladando residentes de una instalación a otra para agrupar a esos residentes, como ser casos positivos y negativos en cada edificio, y a veces dentro del edificio en ciertas alas, están haciendo eso de separar los residentes.

Cuando dices "comunidad", no estoy segura si te refieres a los hospitales, lo que sí sucede es que están admitiendo residentes en los hospitales que pueden estar contagiados. Pero para cumplir con ese criterio para el hogar de ancianos, aún tienen que tener una necesidad calificada de estar en las instalaciones. Las instalaciones evalúan a cada uno de esos residentes para asegurarse de que puedan satisfacer esas necesidades médicas antes de la admisión, tal como lo harían en cualquier otro momento en que alguien necesite un cuidado de enfermería especializado. Por lo tanto, están evaluando esas cosas y siendo conscientes de ellas antes de la admisión, y asegurándose de que puedan manejar las necesidades médicas de esa persona cuando las traen a la instalación.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias por compartir tus ideas. Kevin... Lo siento, adelante.

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Podría decir que me preocuparía por el traslado de los residentes de los hospitales a hogares de ancianos a menos que se les haya realizado una prueba, porque es probable que algunas personas no muestren síntomas, o incluso podrían tener el virus y aún así, los hospitales están tratando de dar de alta a los residentes en hogares de ancianos.

Y, definitivamente, nos gustaría que prohíban eso porque nos gustaría que los estados establecieran instalaciones especiales para manejar a los residentes que tienen el virus, por separado de los hogares de ancianos regulares. Porque una vez que el virus ingresa al hogar de ancianos, es muy probable que se propague por todas partes. Por lo tanto, creo que existe el compromiso de tratar de evitar que las personas ingresen a hogares de ancianos que tienen el virus.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy buen punto, Dra. Harrington. Una vez más, refuerza el hecho de que las pruebas son críticas cuando se trata de instalaciones de hogares de ancianos, particularmente aceptar residentes y también los traslados. Gracias por eso. Muy bien, pasemos a otras llamadas que están entrando. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos en la línea?

 KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Jean, nuestra siguiente pregunta en realidad proviene de Facebook Live. Mary Jo pregunta: "¿Cómo podemos ayudar a nuestros seres queridos en las instalaciones a evitar la depresión mientras están confinados en sus habitaciones? Llamamos y hablamos por Skype, porque mi madre de casi 91 años está perdiendo interés en comer y ducharse y se siente olvidada desde que no puedo verla en persona".

JEAN SETZFAND: Una muy buena pregunta. Permítanme comenzar con la Dra. Harrington, y luego me encantaría que los otros oradores también intervengan. Dra. Harrington, ¿qué piensa sobre eso, en términos de cómo mantener a los residentes dentro de los hogares, en términos de mantenerse conectados y ayudarlos con problemas de depresión?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, ciertamente un asunto es si tienen suficiente personal y si el personal va a visitar y a hablar con el residente. Me preocupa mucho que los estados no garanticen que haya suficiente personal en las instalaciones. Nos gustaría ver a un monitor del estado en cada instalación que tenga el virus, y asegurarnos de que cuenten con personal adecuado, porque eso es de vital importancia, además de poder hablar con los familiares.

JEAN SETZFAND: Absolutamente. Eso tiene mucho sentido. Lori, ¿alguna idea adicional sobre este asunto?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí, gracias. Creo que lo que dijo la Dra. Harrington es completamente cierto. El personal es crítico. Creo que los miembros de la familia también podrían trabajar con el centro para planificar la atención del residente para ver qué más pueden hacer para ayudar a involucrar a esa persona, mantenerlos interesados y asegurarse de que se satisfagan sus necesidades. No solo sus necesidades de cuidado, sino claramente, el aislamiento y la soledad están teniendo un gran impacto en todos los residentes, su cuidado físico también. Hable con la instalación y el personal sobre qué más se puede hacer. ¿Cómo pueden mantenerlos comprometidos? Ya sea con el personal, con miembros de la familia o con otros residentes, ¿hay algo que se pueda hacer para ayudar con eso?

JEAN SETZFAND: Eso es muy útil. Muchas gracias, Lori. Muy bien, pasaremos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos en la línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Jean, tenemos a Wilma de Indiana con una pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Wilma. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros?

WILMA: Creo que es posible que ya la hayan respondido, pero tengo un familiar que está en un centro de cuidado en Evansville. Y solo quería saber qué sitio web debería visitar para saber más sobre esa instalación. No quiero abrumar a los trabajadores, llamando de manera regular para requerir información actualizada. Pero eso es algo que me gustaría poder ver. En el condado de Vanderburgh, en este momento, el estado solo registra un muerto. Y sé que la hermana de un amigo de la familia acaba de morir allí el lunes. Ya ni siquiera siento que eso sea preciso porque sé que se han producido otras muertes en el condado de Vanderburgh.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por su pregunta. Creo que es una muy buena pregunta, en términos de a dónde acudimos para obtener información. Lori, déjame comenzar contigo. ¿A dónde pueden acudir Wilma y otros para obtener información sobre los centros de enfermería si no pueden acceder al centro? ¿Hay recursos disponibles que podamos verificar en línea u otros lugares?

LORI SMETANKA: Bueno, desafortunadamente, en este momento, no todos los estados están publicando información sobre el estado de COVID-19 en las instalaciones y lo que está sucediendo allí. Eso es algo por lo que hemos estado abogando firmemente. Y cada vez más estados están comenzando a poner esa información a disposición del público. No estoy segura si Indiana es uno de esos estados en donde eso es requerido en este momento. Pero eso es algo que la gente debe pedir, que la información sobre el número de casos de COVID-19, el número de muertes en los centros, los niveles de personal en las instalaciones. Creemos que todo eso debería estar disponible públicamente y publicarse en uno de los sitios web del estado. Muchos de los estados que están comenzando a publicar esta información, la están publicando en su estado, ya sea en el Departamento de Salud o en el sitio web del gobernador. Eso es algo que creo que los consumidores deberían pedirle a su estado que haga público.

JEAN SETZFAND: Buen punto. Cuando preguntan y exigen esta información, francamente, usted mencionó el Departamento de Salud, también el sitio del gobernador, ¿a quién deberían dirigirse? ¿A quién deberían hacerle estas solicitudes si no encuentran suficiente información?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí. Creo que ciertamente pueden comenzar con sus instalaciones y pedirles que se aseguren de que la información esté disponible para ellos. Pero también, creo que deberían ponerse en contacto con la Oficina del Gobernador, sus legisladores estatales, para solicitar que se haga pública esa información. Y trabaje con los defensores de su estado, su programa de Defensor del Cuidado a Largo Plazo es un buen recurso, así como su capítulo local de AARP, para ayudar a hacerse escuchar y pedir que esta información se haga pública en su estado.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias por eso, Lori. Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos al teléfono?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Jean, vamos con Barbara de Maryland.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Barbara. ¿Qué pregunta tiene para nosotros?

BARBARA: Sí. Mi esposo está en un hogar de ancianos y estoy preocupada por el manejo de la atención médica. Hace poco recibí una llamada diciendo que simplemente no pueden controlar su comportamiento y sus arrebatos. Pero no están prestando atención a que sus pies han estado hinchados por un período de tiempo, y les he pedido que se comuniquen con su médico. Y ha estado tomando medicamentos. Entonces, quería saber, ahora me piden que busque un asistente para que esté con él para que ese asistente pueda controlar su comportamiento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bueno, Barbara. Muchas gracias por su pregunta. Lamento mucho las circunstancias en las que se encuentra. Déjeme recurrir la Dra. Harrington. Dra. Harrington, escuchó la situación de Barbara. ¿Alguna orientación que pueda darle, en términos de lo que le dicen en su instalación?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, estoy de acuerdo en que sería bueno. Creo que podría llamar al médico directamente. Pero podría ser una buena idea buscar un ayudante si está dentro de sus posibilidades, porque podría calmarlo y ayudarlo a lidiar con sus problemas de soledad. Como creo que el personal está muy ocupado, realmente no tienen tiempo para conversar con la gente y hacer cosas que puedan ayudar a calmar al paciente. O tal vez tenga un amigo voluntario que sea joven y saludable que estaría dispuesto a hacerlo, a ir allí al menos un par de horas al día. Y si tuvieran una máscara y una bata, y si se aseguraran de que no dieran positivo ante el virus, sería una buena idea.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias por eso. Lori, Claudette, ¿alguna orientación adicional para proporcionar sobre este tema?

LORI SMETANKA: Claro. Habla Lori. Creo que las instalaciones aún tienen la responsabilidad de satisfacer las necesidades médicas del residente que atienden. Y a menudo, cuando vemos y escuchamos algunos de los arrebatos que están teniendo los residentes, eso indica, como creo que dijo la oyente, las necesidades no satisfechas que deben ser abordadas, que alguna necesidad de la persona no se está abordando. Y se requiere la facilidad de evaluar a la persona, para descubrir cuál es esa necesidad. Sin duda, le animo a que les pida que hagan una evaluación y un plan de atención, que vuelvan a revisar eso para que su esposo vea cuáles son las necesidades que potencialmente no se están cumpliendo.

Ciertamente, contacte al médico. Puede llamarlos usted misma y solicitar una intervención y una revisión de lo que está sucediendo. Y ciertamente, comuníquese con su programa de Defensor del Pueblo para obtener ayuda en su área. Los oyentes pueden encontrar a su defensor del pueblo a través del sitio web Consumer Voice en www.theconsumervoice.org.

Tenemos un mapa nacional en nuestra página donde las personas pueden hacer clic en su estado y pueden encontrar la información de contacto de un defensor del pueblo en su área. Y también pueden ayudarlo con algunos de los desafíos con algunos de los desafíos que puede estar experimentando.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias por ese recurso, Lori. Y déjenme repetir eso para nuestros oyentes. Puede visitar www.consumervoice.org si desea ponerse en contacto con el defensor del pueblo de su estado. Gracias por eso.

LORI SMETANKA: Lo siento, Jean. Lo siento. Es www.theconsumervoice.org.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por aclarar.

LORI SMETANKA: www.theconsumervoice.org. Gracias.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Tres palabras, www.theconsumervoice.org. Muchas gracias por eso, Lori. Muy bien, volvamos a atender otra llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea para nuestra próxima llamada?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Hola, Jean. De hecho, tenemos otra pregunta de una persona, esta vez de YouTube. No dio su nombre, pero la persona pregunta: "¿Cómo pueden las familias estar seguras de que el personal de los hogares de ancianos está siendo examinado y tiene el EPP necesario?"

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. ¿Cómo pueden las familias estar seguras de que el personal del hogar de ancianos está siendo evaluado y tiene el equipo de protección adecuado, el equipo de protección personal, el EPP? Déjenme recurrir a Claudette. Claudette, desde tu punto de vista, desde Nueva York, ¿cuál es tu opinión?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Cuando el personal ingresa al edificio, se los controla y se les toma la temperatura y se los examina para detectar signos o síntomas de COVID-19 cada vez que ingresan al edificio. Y en cuanto al equipo de protección personal, PPE, las instalaciones realmente están buscando asegurarse de tener todo ese equipo y utilizarlo.

Y esas son preguntas que definitivamente debe hacerle a la instalación cuando llame. ¿Están usando el equipo de protección personal? ¿Están teniendo dificultades para conseguir ese equipo de protección personal? Hemos estado ayudando a las instalaciones a remitirlas a sus Oficinas de Gestión de Emergencias para garantizar que tengan esos suministros, porque en este momento son clave para evitar la propagación de COVID-19. Son las piezas clave que se necesitan. Pero están siendo monitoreadas y realizan pruebas según sea necesario. Pero hemos hablado sobre las pruebas y las dificultades con las pruebas en este momento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por eso. Muy bien, permítanme recordarles a nuestros oyentes que si tienen una pregunta, por favor, en cualquier momento, presionen * 3 y pueden hacerle una pregunta a un miembro del personal que lo pondrá en la lista.

Permítanme recordarles a las personas que a veces escuchar una voz amigable durante este momento difícil puede ser útil. Mi Comunidad con AARP, es un servicio gratuito para todos los adultos mayores de 18 años. Tenemos voluntarios capacitados para brindar una llamada amistosa y también para hablar. Si desea hablar con alguien de lunes a viernes de 9:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m., hora del este, llame al 888-281-0145 y déjenos su información. Un voluntario le devolverá la llamada. Y si prefiere configurar una llamada periódica, por ejemplo, todos los miércoles a las 2:00 PM para un chequeo, también está disponible.

Nuevamente, el servicio gratuito, se llama Mi Comunidad con AARP, Y es para todos los adultos, independientemente de que sean socios. Y también tenemos capacidad bilingüe . Una vez más, ese número para Mi Comunidad con AARP es 888-281-0145. Y si permanece en línea al final de esta llamada, también le proporcionaremos una opción fácil para que se conecte directamente con el programa Mi Comunidad con AARP.

Muy bien, escuchemos más de nuestros expertos. Voy a llamar a la Dra. Harrington para que vuelva a esta conversación. Dra. Harrington, ¿hay factores adicionales que no sean de cuidado que uno debería considerar antes de sacar a un ser querido de una instalación? Hemos hablado un poco sobre esto. Pero, ¿hay factores que no sean de cuidado que debemos tener en cuenta al pensar en sacar a un ser querido de una instalación? ¿Qué le parece, Dra. Harrington?

 CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, creo que el factor principal es el entorno de vida. ¿Tienes escaleras? ¿Tienes una habitación en la planta baja? ¿Qué tipo de configuración tienes para poder manejar a la persona fácilmente? Si no pueden subir o bajar escaleras, eso podría ser un factor. Pienso principalmente en los factores ambientales. Pero supongo que mucha gente se quedaría en casa, por lo que podrían ayudar a alguien o necesitar ayuda adicional. Eso es un factor, porque entonces estarías trayendo a alguien a la casa que podría exponer a la familia al virus. Pero es posible que pueda intentar hacer que esa persona sea examinada.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Correcto. Es bueno que consideremos eso, tanto en términos de pruebas para personas en las instalaciones, como también en el exterior, y también factores ambientales. Cosas para considerar, para detenerse y pensar antes de retirar a un ser querido de una instalación. Buena orientación al respecto, Dra. Harrington. Lori, déjame acudir a ti también. ¿Cómo afrontan las familias estas difíciles circunstancias? Definitivamente hay una falta de control, una falta de contacto, miedo por un ser querido. Todo esto es tan abrumador. ¿Cuánto de esto es realmente evitable?

LORI SMETANKA: Gracias, Jean. Sabemos que toda esta situación ha sido excepcionalmente difícil para las familias y los residentes. Lo hemos escuchado de su boca directamente. Tienen miedo por lo que escuchan en las noticias. Les preocupa no poder entrar y ver qué sucede, y les preocupa el aislamiento. Es realmente importante que las familias se mantengan comprometidas y presionen para obtener una buena información y comunicación con el centro de atención a largo plazo.

Como se mencionó anteriormente, la instalación debe comunicarse regularmente con las familias y los representantes de sus residentes. Pero las familias no deben dudar en hacerle preguntas a la instalación. Preguntarles cuál es su plan para proteger a los residentes durante esta situación. Preguntar cuál es la cantidad de personal con la que cuentan para brindar atención, cuál es su plan de respaldo si no tienen suficiente personal que ingrese por el día, si el personal se enferma, por ejemplo. Y también, pregunte cuántos residentes y personal han dado positivo para la enfermedad COVID-19.

Sé que se mencionó anteriormente, el recurso que AARP ha estado distribuyendo con preguntas que pueden hacer. Ese es un recurso excelente. Y nosotros, en Consumer Voice, también tenemos una hoja informativa para los residentes y los miembros de la familia sobre lo que pueden hacer y otros consejos para mantenerse involucrados, incluidas algunas de las preguntas que pueden hacerle a la instalación, y también sobre relacionarse con el consejo familiar que puede existir en el hogar de ancianos. También se puede acceder a eso desde nuestro sitio web. La comunicación realmente es clave aquí. Mantenerse comunicado con la instalación, en términos de hacer preguntas y obtener información sobre lo que está sucediendo allí, es la parte más importante.

Y si tiene alguna inquietud al respecto, nuevamente, me gustaría referir a las personas a sus programas de Defensoría del Cuidado a Largo Plazo. Todavía están disponibles, a pesar de que no están ingresando a las instalaciones en este momento para atender quejas y hablar con los residentes. Todavía están disponibles para responder a las quejas, y lo hacen de manera virtual en todos los estados del país. Y son un muy buen recurso si tiene inquietudes o necesita ayuda con lo que está sucediendo en las instalaciones.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Nos recuerda que debe mantener una línea abierta de comunicación con la instalación. Este no es momento para ser tímido. Debe ser un defensor de sus seres queridos que se encuentran en estos centros. Definitivamente debe comunicarse y pedir tanta información como sea posible. Permítanme repetir algunos de los recursos a los que Lori hizo referencia anteriormente.

También puede encontrar información sobre el defensor del pueblo de atención a largo plazo en www.theconsumervoice.org. Y AARP sugiere mucho las preguntas que debe hacer si su ser querido está en cuarentena en las instalaciones. Puede encontrar eso, nuevamente, en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus Hay mucha información allí. Los invito a todos a visitar la página. Muy bien, veamos si hay más llamadas en la línea. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos al teléfono ahora?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Absolutamente, Jean. Vamos con Frank desde Connecticut.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Frank, bienvenido.

FRANK: Hola. Buenas tardes. Tengo a una persona de 93 años en un centro de vida asistida. Y muy regularmente, escuchamos en las noticias locales el número de casos de infecciones y muertes en hogares de ancianos. Pero escuchamos muy poco sobre las instalaciones de vivienda asistida. Y me pregunto si a veces las estadísticas juntan a los centros de salud, los de vida asistida y los hogares de ancianos. Y he tratado de contactarme con el centro de vida asistida.

Bueno, los contacté con éxito, por supuesto. Pero hice una pregunta muy directa sobre, ¿cuántas infecciones han tenido? Se envió una notificación por correo electrónico de que tenían un residente infectado. Después de eso, llamé y pregunté cuántos residentes más se han visto afectados desde entonces. Y me dicen que no pueden revelar esa información.

Con mi madre de 93 años en ese centro, me preocupa de qué tipo de precauciones están hablando. Nos dicen lo que están haciendo, las mascarillas y los guantes, etc., y limitan el contacto. Ahora han sido aislados en cuarentena en sus apartamentos. Pero desde entonces ha habido algunos miembros del personal que han resultado dar positivo. Pero no tengo idea del volumen de infecciones que existe allí. Necesito saber cómo puedo averiguarlo.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gracias por tu pregunta, Frank. Claudette, déjame recurrir a ti. Es cierto que este no es un caso de Nueva York, pero ¿cómo responderías la pregunta de Frank?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Primero, diría que potencialmente podría acceder al programa de Defensor del Pueblo del estado de Connecticut porque podrían tener información sobre su instalación específica en cuanto a la cantidad de casos que dieron positivos en esa instalación. Y también, como hemos mencionado anteriormente, CMS publicó una guía para reportes. Buscan que se documente públicamente para que las personas puedan acceder a ellos. Es para el futuro. Todavía no tenemos un enlace real o un punto de referencia. Pero está en camino, donde la información será pública desde CMS hasta los CDC; los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. Pero yo diría que para su instalación específica se comunique con el programa del Defensor del Pueblo de su estado. Pueden tener la información sobre esa instalación específica.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Sí, ¿doctora Harrington?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Sí. Creo que también debe comunicarse con los funcionarios de salud pública de su condado porque la instalación tiene que informar al Departamento de Salud Pública del condado cuando tengan casos positivos al virus. Y ellos podrían decirle.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gracias por esa información adicional.

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Por cierto, estamos instando a los condados a hacer públicos estos datos. Y sabemos que algunos condados lo están haciendo, pero muchos no.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy útil. Lori, me pregunto si también quieres abundar sobre esto, Frank está notando que hay una diferencia entre el tratamiento de hogares de ancianos y las instalaciones de vivienda asistida. ¿Qué piensas sobre eso?

LORI SMETANKA: Absolutamente. Es muy preocupante para nosotros. Y tiene toda la razón. Estamos viendo que se presta mucha más atención a los hogares de ancianos que a los de vida asistida. Y lo que pasa con la vida asistida es que está menos regulado que los hogares de ancianos, se supervisa a nivel estatal, no a nivel federal.

Por lo tanto, es un área donde debemos hacernos escuchar y exigir que la información se haga pública. La excusa que dio la instalación sobre cómo no puede dar la información y hacerla pública, no nos engañan con eso. No estamos pidiendo los nombres de las personas específicas que han sido infectadas, simplemente los números que han resultado positivo o infectados con el virus.

Por lo tanto, los alentamos, nuevamente, a comunicarse con la oficina del gobernador y de los legisladores estatales, y pedirles que requieran que esa información se haga pública y se publique, para que todos puedan estar informados sobre lo que está sucediendo, no solo en hogares de ancianos, sino también en hogares de vivienda asistida.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gracias por eso. Dra. Harrington, puede que no la haya dejado terminar. ¿Tiene alguna idea final sobre este tema?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Oh, estoy totalmente de acuerdo con Lori. Creo que debemos insistir en que los condados y las oficinas del gobernador informen sobre todos los centros de vida asistida y cuidado residencial. Creo que la presión pública es lo mejor que tenemos en este momento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Absolutamente. Bueno, queremos saber más de nuestros oyentes. Permítanme recordarles a todos, nuevamente, que deben presionar * 3 en cualquier momento, en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta. Volveremos a sus preguntas muy pronto. Pero antes de hacerlo, quiero proporcionar una alerta rápida de Red contra el Fraude, de AARP sobre el coronavirus.

Desafortunadamente, los estafadores intentan robar su dinero e información personal ofreciendo curas falsas, inversiones falsas, haciéndose pasar por un profesional médico para cobrar, y haciéndose pasar por funcionarios de salud pública mundial para realizar campañas de correo electrónico diseñadas para cargar software malicioso en su dispositivo, robar contraseñas y otras credenciales. Google informó recientemente que filtran más de 18 millones de correos electrónicos de "phishing" y software malicioso todos los días, de su servicio de correo electrónico. Y ayer, el Departamento de Justicia dijo que las agencias policiales de EE.UU. y los operadores de sitios web han eliminado cientos de sitios web fraudulentos, incluidos algunos que falsifican programas y entidades gubernamentales.

Si puede detectar una estafa, definitivamente puede detenerla. Visiten www.aarp.org/fraude para conocer cómo puede detectar y evitar estafas de COVID-19 y de otro tipo. También puede informar estafas u obtener ayuda si ha sido víctima de una, o si cree que lo ha sido, a través de la línea de ayuda de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP. Y ese número es 877-908-3360.

Nuevamente, esa línea de ayuda es 877-908-3360. Nuevamente, para obtener más información o para acceder a las grabaciones de nuestras teleasambleas recientes de AARP sobre el coronavirus con los principales expertos, los invito a visitar www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Allí encontrará recursos muy útiles, incluido el artículo que mencionamos anteriormente llamado "Las seis preguntas que debe hacer si su ser querido está en cuarentena dentro de una institución".

Nuevamente, es hora de abordar sus preguntas con nuestros expertos, Lori Smetanka de National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Claudette Royal con la Oficina del estado de Nueva York para el Envejecimiento y la Dra. Charlene Harrington de la Escuela de Enfermería de University of California, en San Francisco. Presione * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para hacer su pregunta.

Muy bien, pasemos a más preguntas. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea?

 KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Nuestra próxima llamada viene de Karen en Nueva York, Jean.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Karen, bienvenida. ¿Qué pregunta tiene para nosotros?

KAREN: Sí, creo que mi pregunta ya ha sido respondida. Pero lo preguntaré de todos modos. Mi madre está en una combinación de vivienda para adultos mayores, vida independiente, vida asistida, hogar de ancianos. Ella está en vida independiente. Ocasionalmente, ella puede salir. Pero he actuado como su cuidadora cambiando su ropa de cama, así como haciendo sus compras y algunas otras responsabilidades. Pero aún así, me están clasificando como visitante, por lo tanto, no puedo ingresar. ¿Qué derechos tengo? ¿Debo contactar a alguien allí, o alguien dentro de nuestro condado?

JEAN SETZFAND: Buena pregunta. Muchas gracias por tu pregunta. Como se trata de una pregunta de Nueva York, Claudette, déjame comenzar contigo.

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: ¿Está buscando tener contacto con un miembro de su familia? ¿No le están permitiendo tener contacto con su familiar?

JEAN SETZFAND: Desafortunadamente, no podemos hacer un seguimiento con Karen. Pero parece que...

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Si está buscando tener contacto con un miembro de su familia y está teniendo dificultades con eso, ciertamente puede comunicarse con el programa de Defensor del Pueblo local, en el condado en el que se encuentra. Y puede acceder a eso a través de Consumer Voice, que Lori ha mencionado el sitio web para eso, y también la moderadora. Y también puede comunicarse con nosotros desde nuestro sitio web, que es www.ltcombudsman.ny.org. Y puede acceder a su programa local allí. Me comunicaría con ellos. Pueden ayudarlo a obtener acceso a su familiar. Hemos tenido éxito con eso con las familias que se comunican con las instalaciones y facilitan esa comunicación y hacen esos arreglos.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias. Repetiré esos recursos nuevamente. Es The Consumer Voice, tres palabras, www.theconsumervoice.org para obtener acceso a su defensor del pueblo, así como www.theltcombudsman.newyork.org. Gracias por eso, Claudette. Muy bien, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea, Kevin?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Hola, Jean. Nuestra próxima llamada es de Mónica de Nueva Jersey.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Monica. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

MONICA: Hola. Gracias por atender la llamada. Mi pregunta es, tengo a mi suegra de 89 años. Estábamos tratando de ponerla en uno de estos centros combinados, una unidad de cuidado de la tercera edad, independencia y memoria, y eso fue antes de que todo esto sucediera. Hicimos una selección de nuestra lista, basada en entrevistas que hicimos. Y afortunadamente, no hicimos el cambio, y ahora estamos muy contentos de no haberlo hecho. Pero muy pronto, tendremos que hacerlo, porque está fuera del control de lo que la familia puede manejar. Ella necesita una unidad de cuidado de la memoria. Mi pregunta es, ¿qué preguntas debo hacerle ahora a estas instalaciones? Porque obviamente, es un mundo completamente nuevo, antes de ponerla en algún lugar.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gran pregunta. Lori, déjame comenzar contigo. A la luz de lo que sucedió, ¿cuáles son las preguntas que deben hacerse cuando se buscan instalaciones ahora?

LORI SMETANKA: Como las personas buscan atención y servicios a largo plazo, sin duda, deben hacer preguntas generales sobre qué tipo de atención y servicios se brindan, cuáles son los costos relacionados con eso, ver el contrato y cuáles son sus derechos, con respecto a pasar de un lugar a otro, ya que está buscando una comunidad de jubilación de atención continua. ¿Quién toma las decisiones sobre quién se muda de un entorno a otro si necesita niveles más altos de atención, y cuáles son los costos si necesitara asistencia adicional? Pero durante el período de crisis de COVID, también le recomendamos que pregunte sobre... Bueno, en general, también debería preguntar sobre los niveles de personal que están disponibles en todas las diferentes configuraciones.

Pero durante esta crisis COVID, creo que también debería preguntar sobre planes de emergencia. Por ejemplo, ¿cómo están protegiendo a los residentes y al personal de la propagación de la infección dentro de los diferentes entornos? ¿Cómo le comunican a los miembros de la familia las condiciones en la instalación y qué está sucediendo? ¿Cuentan con suficiente personal para cuidar a los residentes en los diferentes niveles disponibles dentro de la comunidad de jubilados? ¿Y cuáles son sus planes de respaldo si tienen poco personal? ¿Tienen suficientes equipos de protección personal y pruebas para asegurarse de que se mantienen al tanto de lo que está sucediendo y que pueden identificar rápidamente si las personas han contraído el virus o no?

Hacer preguntas adicionales sobre los temas relacionados con COVID de los que hemos estado hablando hoy, creo, es de vital importancia mientras estamos en esta crisis. Pero incluso después, haga preguntas sobre cómo van a proteger a su familiar de la propagación de la infección.

JEAN SETZFAND: Eso es muy útil. Muchas gracias, Lori. Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: De hecho, tenemos una pregunta de Facebook Live, Jean. Viene de Bob. Bob quiere saber, "¿pueden los residentes en las instalaciones recibir correo? He oído que algunas instalaciones ya no recogen su correo".

JEAN SETZFAND: Buena pregunta. Permítanme comenzar con la Dra. Harrington, y luego pasar a algunos de los otros panelistas también. Dra. Harrington, ¿conoce la situación en las instalaciones con respecto a la recepción de correo?

 CHARLENE HARRINGTON: No he oído hablar de nadie que no reciba su correo. Pero creo que tal vez deberíamos preguntarle a Lori o...

JEAN SETZFAND: Lori o Claudette, ¿han oído hablar de situaciones relacionadas con la recepción de, en este caso, parece ser correo postal?

LORI SMETANKA: Los residentes aún deberían recibir su correo. El correo todavía se entrega en todo el país, incluso en centros de atención a largo plazo. Los residentes tienen derecho a recibir el correo y los paquetes que se les envían. Hemos escuchado hablar de algunas situaciones en las que, para dejar pasar un tiempo entre el momento en que ocurren las entregas y tratar de eliminar el virus vivo que puede estar viviendo en los paquetes que podrían entregarse, podría haber un ligero retraso en el tiempo de entrega a los residentes. Pero aún deberían estar recibiendo el correo. Y las instalaciones deben tomar precauciones para garantizar que las cosas que se entregan se limpien o desinfecten en la medida de lo posible. Pero aun así, los residentes aún deberían recibir los paquetes que se les envían.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy útil. Claudette, ¿has escuchado algo diferente en Nueva York?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Estamos escuchando que los residentes están recibiendo su correo, pero en su mayor parte, sí. Y como dice Lori, se están asegurando de limpiar los paquetes antes de entregárselos al residente para evitar la propagación del virus.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Muy bien, volvamos a los teléfonos. Kevin, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Penny de Kentucky.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Penny. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros?

PENNY: Oh, hola. Sí, mi madre tiene 85 años y está en un hogar de ancianos a largo plazo, y está en las últimas etapas de la EPOC. Y me dijeron antes de que sucediera todo esto, que probablemente tendrían que ponerla, podría ser en cualquier momento, en cuidados paliativos porque estaba muy mal y realmente iba cuesta abajo.

Me preguntaba... Ahora dicen que realmente se está apagando. Ella está acostumbrada a que yo esté allí todos los días y le dé su comida. No sabía si tengo más derechos porque ella esté en las últimas etapas de la EPOC. Porque sé que hay trabajadores de atención médica que acostumbran a ir y que se les paga y solían estar allí para algunos de los pacientes. No sabía cuáles eran mis derechos. Me tratan como visitante y me dicen que no puedo verla. Y sugerí que solo quería ver si podían llevarla al patio dos veces por semana cuando el clima es agradable. Pero dicen que, a menos que efectivamente esté muriendo, no puedo verla.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por su pregunta, Penny. Lamento las circunstancias. Nuevamente, permítanme comenzar con la Dra. Harrington. En la situación de Penny, ¿qué derechos tiene ella? ¿Hay más cosas que pueda pedir de las instalaciones en las que está su madre? ¿Dra. Harrington?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Sí. Pienso que ella tendría derecho a ver a la familia. No sé si han habido casos de contagio del virus en la instalación o si han sido examinados. Pero puede pedirles que hagan pruebas. Pero tendría que referirme a otros sobre los derechos de los residentes. Pero otra posibilidad es solicitar atenderla en un centro de cuidados paliativos porque si estuviera en un centro de cuidados paliativos, probablemente recibiría más visitas de los cuidadores.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por eso. Eso es muy útil. Lori, ¿alguna idea sobre los derechos de Penny?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí. Dado que está en un hogar de ancianos, a pesar del hecho de que hay restricciones en las visitas, el gobierno federal ha emitido una guía para las instalaciones que dice que si hay una necesidad de atención compasiva para las personas que viven en los hogares de ancianos, y uno de los ejemplos que ellos dieron, con respecto a la atención compasiva, es una persona que se encuentra cerca del final de su vida, que debe haber adaptaciones para ayudar a la familia a ver al residente y potencialmente incluso estar con ellos.

Hay algunos desafíos de los que estamos escuchando cuando esto es implementado realmente. Pero es un tema con el que la familia debería pedir ayuda, que esta es una situación en la que se necesita atención compasiva, y preguntar qué tipos de adaptaciones se pueden hacer para que pueda estar con ella cuando se acerca el final de su vida. Si necesita ayuda con eso, nuevamente, le diría que contacte al programa del defensor del pueblo de su estado. Y pueden ayudar a negociar eso con la instalación, con respecto a lo que podría estar disponible para que vea a su madre.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por tu consejo.

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Habla Claudette.

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, Claudette. Gracias.

 CLAUDETTE ROYAL: ¿Puedo agregar algo? Hemos tenido éxito con eso en el estado de Nueva York, donde las familias nos han contactado en esas situaciones y hemos trabajado con el centro y hemos podido organizar algunas cosas, como algunas visitas a la ventana, para los miembros de la familia y el residente.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por eso. Maravilloso. Gracias por tu aporte. Lori, una guía muy clara en ese sentido, también, en torno a la atención compasiva y acercarse a su defensor del pueblo. Muy bien, volvamos a los teléfonos para ver a quién tenemos en línea. Kevin, ¿quién es el siguiente?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Recibimos una llamada de Pamela en Maryland, Jean.

JEAN SETZFAND: Pamela, hola. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros?

PAMELA: Hola. Llamo en referencia a un amigo que tengo en un hogar de ancianos en el área de Filadelfia. Y desafortunadamente, sabemos que antes de COVID-19, en hogares de ancianos, ha habido casos de abuso y negligencia. Y mi pregunta es, en este momento, con COVID, ¿existen pautas específicas? Y si es así, ¿es monitoreado el tratamiento de los residentes de hogares de ancianos que dieron positivo para COVID-19?

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por su pregunta, Pamela. Claudette, déjame recurrir a ti, como defensora del pueblo, para responder esta pregunta primero.

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Si existen inquietudes relacionadas con el abuso y la negligencia, aún deben informarse a la agencia reguladora. La agencia reguladora debería acercarse, y todavía están investigando las preocupaciones relacionadas con el abuso y la negligencia. Si existe esa duda, debe informarse a la agencia reguladora local, que, en mi estado, es el Departamento de Salud.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Para Pamela, de manera similar para su amigo en Filadelfia supongo que sería el Departamento de Salud de Pensilvania. Excelente. Lori, ¿hay algo que agregar a esa pregunta como guía en ese sentido?

LORI SMETANKA: Claro. Estoy de acuerdo con Claudette en que si hay inquietudes sobre abuso, negligencia o problemas de atención, pueden presentar una queja ante el Departamento de Salud. Si bien solo se acercan en situaciones que consideran que hay peligro inmediato, o que están relacionadas con problemas de control de infecciones, es importante que aún se presente la queja.

En algunos estados, los Servicios de Protección para Adultos también manejan quejas sobre abuso en centros de atención a largo plazo Esa es otra opción posible. Y el programa del Defensor del Pueblo es otra opción para presentar una queja si tiene inquietudes sobre abuso o negligencia en una instalación, en términos de que le ayuden a identificar qué otros recursos podrían estar disponibles, o cómo obtener ayuda para la persona por la que está preocupada.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias, Lori. Muy bien, Kevin, veamos quién más está en línea. ¿Quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Nuestra próxima oyente es Minerva de Arizona.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Minerva. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros?

MINERVA: ¿Hola?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, hola, Minerva. Adelante con su pregunta.

MINERVA: Oh, me acabo de despertar. He estado esperando todo este tiempo. Bien, mi pregunta es, cuando tienes un ser querido que falleció en un centro de enfermería, ¿cuál es el procedimiento estándar?

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Muchas gracias por su pregunta. Déjeme comenzar con Lori. Lori, ¿tienes alguna guía para Minerva en esta situación?

LORI SMETANKA: Si un ser querido falleció en una instalación, no tengo todos los detalles sobre lo que ocurre allí. Pero ciertamente, la instalación debería estar trabajando con la familia para garantizar que se cumplan los deseos finales del residente, y que la familia ciertamente pueda organizar un funeral o cualquier arreglo final que el residente hubiese querido que ocurra. Más allá de eso, necesitaría saber más sobre qué es lo que está preguntando, creo, para ver si hay información adicional que podría proporcionar.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Creo que podría haber una aclaración que acabamos de recibir que es si la persona hubiera muerto de coronavirus, supongo que hay dos partes, ¿verdad? Tanto en términos de obtener información, como en el tratamiento de la instalación. En el primero, en términos de información, ¿hay alguna orientación adicional que tenga en ese sentido?

LORI SMETANKA: Bueno, la instalación debe informar los incidentes de casos de coronavirus en la instalación, así como las muertes, al Departamento de Salud del estado. Y ahora también se les exigirá que informen a los CDC, para que se proporcione mejor información a ambas agencias. Y ciertamente deberían proteger al resto de los residentes en la instalación y también notificar a los residentes y miembros de la familia cada vez que haya nuevos casos o muertes relacionadas con el coronavirus. Esa es la información que creemos que debería hacerse pública. Pero ciertamente, una instalación tiene la responsabilidad de compartir el número de casos y el número de muertes con los residentes y los miembros de la familia. Nuevamente, no tienen que decir quién es. Pero nuevamente, deberían compartir los números totales con los residentes y las familias.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra próxima llamada. Kevin, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

 KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Nuestra próxima oyente es Barbara de Alabama.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Barbara. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros?

BARBARA: ¿Hola?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, hola.

BARBARA: Sí. Estoy llamando desde Montgomery, Alabama. Tengo una pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, hola.

BARBARA: Hola, ¿cómo está? Tengo un hermano en un hogar de ancianos en Montgomery, Alabama. Y me gustaría saber, ¿podrán dar información sobre mi hermano?

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Muchas gracias por su pregunta Creo que es una pregunta común que hemos escuchado hoy. Permítanme volver a Lori, y luego también haré que nuestros otros expertos ofrezcan algún consejo. Lori, hemos escuchado esto una y otra vez. ¿Qué debería esperar la gente, en términos de obtener información de las instalaciones?

LORI SMETANKA: Ciertamente, la instalación debe asegurarse de que los miembros de la familia, particularmente si son el representante legal o el contacto cercano del residente, reciban informes directos sobre esa persona en particular. Y la instalación debe asegurarse de que también tengan la oportunidad de hablar o conectarse con esa persona.

Con respecto a si se trata de una persona que no es el representante directo del residente, creo que sería importante conectarse con otros miembros de la familia, o pedirle permiso a su hermano para obtener información sobre lo que está sucediendo con él, y con suerte la capacidad de hablar con él y saber más sobre en qué condición están él y las instalaciones. Pero creo que la instalación tiene la responsabilidad de compartir información sobre el estado de un residente con el representante legal de ese residente o la persona designada como el contacto principal, que es con quien van a compartir información.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gracias por eso. Claudette, Dra. Harrington, ¿alguna orientación adicional que puedan proporcionar?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Estoy de acuerdo con Lori. Se basa en quién es el representante, es a quién divulgarán la información. Por lo tanto, si usted es la persona de contacto de su hermano, ellos deberían poder brindarle información sobre su estado y cómo avanza, y potencialmente programar una visita virtual o una llamada telefónica con él si es posible.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias. Gracias por aclarar eso. Muy bien, volvamos a las líneas telefónicas. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos por teléfono?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Muchas preguntas hoy, Jean. Vamos con Silvia desde Míchigan.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Silvia.

SILVIA: Hola. Estoy llamando. Es posible que ya hayan respondido esto. Pero dado que el COVID-19 es nacional, es una pandemia, y usted dijo que los hogares de ancianos están regulados por el Gobierno federal, ¿es correcto suponer que todos aquellos en un hogar de ancianos han sido examinados? ¿Hay un requisito?

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Muchas gracias por esa pregunta, Silvia. Dra. Harrington, voy a recurrir a usted con la pregunta de Silvia. ¿Es seguro asumir que todos aquellos en una instalación han sido examinados ya que estos están regulados a nivel federal?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: No, no, definitivamente no, porque las pruebas se realizan a nivel local o del condado. Y varía mucho según el condado. Y ha habido una falta de capacidad para realizar las pruebas en los hogares de ancianos. Eso es lo que preocupa tanto a todos porque sabemos que gran parte del personal y muchos residentes ya tienen el virus, pero no han sido examinados. Y pueden tener síntomas o no. Sigue siendo un gran problema. Pero creo que probablemente también varía mucho según el estado.

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí. Desafortunadamente, creo que la situación de exámenes todavía no es buena. Pero gracias por aclarar eso para Silvia. Muy bien, Kevin, ¿tenemos más llamadas en línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Así es. Tenemos una pregunta de Wendy en Connecticut.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Wendy. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

WENDY: Hola. Gracias por hacer esto hoy. Ha sido informativo. Tengo una madre de 93 años en un centro de vida asistida. Han sido relativamente buenos en la comunicación por correo electrónico y llamadas telefónicas para informar. Ha habido un residente que dio positivo y varios miembros del personal también. Y hablan de proporcionar al personal con EPP. Y solo me pregunto, ¿qué nivel de EPP debería esperar o debo exigir, especialmente para las personas del personal que entran en contacto físico con el residente? Porque, por ejemplo, mi madre tiene a alguien que la ayuda a vestirse y la ayuda a bañarse. Los EPP pueden ser mascarillas, caretas, guantes, batas. ¿Qué nivel debo esperar que usen cuando entren en contacto con mi madre?

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, Wendy. Muy buena pregunta. Dra. Harrington, nuevamente le pediré su opinión. En términos de expectativas para el equipo de protección personal, ¿qué debería esperar Wendy de la instalación al cuidar a su madre?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, ciertamente creo que debería esperar que usen una mascarilla, incluso si no tienen el virus, en las instalaciones. Pero sé que muchas instalaciones no lo están haciendo, desafortunadamente. Es posible que quieran usar guantes. Pero mientras se laven las manos, no sé si tendrían que usar guantes, siempre y cuando no tengan el virus. Pero si tienen el virus en la instalación, deben usar mascarillas, guantes y batas, y tener un suministro adecuado, para que puedan cambiarlos con frecuencia.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Y cuando se trata de lavarse las manos, ¿cómo pueden los hogares de ancianos realmente hacer cumplir el lavado de manos de su personal?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Bueno, deberían ser supervisados por enfermeras registradas. Se supone que cada hogar de ancianos tiene un preventivo de infecciones. Eso significa que hay alguien que solo es responsable de analizar el control de infecciones. Pero realmente no sabemos si los hogares de ancianos realmente están haciendo eso y si están monitoreando sus infecciones.

Durante esta crisis, creemos que deberían tener una persona a tiempo completo haciendo eso, especialmente si tienen el virus. Supongo que, debido a la escasez de personal, el lavado de manos no siempre se realiza en hogares de ancianos. Y es muy importante en todo momento, incluso antes de que tengamos este virus, porque sabemos que hay muchas infecciones en los hogares de ancianos, y el personal lo transmite de residente en residente. Y en el hogar de ancianos, cada asistente de enfermería solo debería tener alrededor de siete residentes que cuidar durante el día y la noche. Y si tienen más que eso, es probable que omitan la atención, y el control de infecciones sea un problema.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Nos estamos acercando al final de nuestro evento. Veamos si podemos tomar algunas llamadas más. Kevin, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea?

KEVIN CRAIGLOW: Claro, Jean. Nuestra próxima llamada es de Trish en Nueva York.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Trish. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

TRISH: Hola. Mi madre está en un centro de vida asistida y alrededor del 85% de los residentes allí tienen el virus. Como anécdota, he sabido de 12 a 15 muertes. Estamos considerando traerla a mi casa. No soy un profesional de la salud de ninguna manera. Tengo un asistente de salud en el hogar que la atiende unas cuatro horas al día, y buscaré expandir las horas una vez que la traigamos a la casa. Pero estoy buscando algún tipo de recurso para mí sobre cómo levantarla adecuadamente. Es inmóvil y está atada a quedarse en la cama o la silla de ruedas. Entonces, ¿cómo puedo levantarla correctamente? Tengo que revisarla adecuadamente para asegurarme de que no tenga un pañal mojado y darle la vuelta para asegurarme de que no tenga llagas por la cama. ¿Hay recursos disponibles para mí?

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por su pregunta, Trish. Lori, déjame comenzar contigo. ¿Alguna guía para Trish, en términos de atención domiciliaria adecuada cuando traiga a su madre a casa?

LORI SMETANKA: Ciertamente, sería importante saber y comprender realmente cuáles son sus necesidades. Si hay un asistente que ya está trabajando con ella, y buscarías llevarlo a la casa, sin duda, interactúe con ellos sobre cómo la están cuidando y cuáles son las prácticas de cuidado que están siguiendo con ella. Tendría que investigar más para ver qué recursos podría haber disponibles sobre proporcionar servicios de atención a alguien con necesidades especiales. Desafortunadamente no tengo un buen recurso al que dirigirla en este momento. Lo lamento.

JEAN SETZFAND: No hay problema. Muchas gracias, Lori. Permítanme abrir el debate a la Dra. Harrington o Claudette. ¿Alguna guía para Trish en Nueva York, en términos de trasladar a su madre a casa?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Habla Claudette. En cuanto a la capacitación para transferencias y otras cosas, el centro debería poder hacer que el personal también le brinde esa capacitación sobre cómo mover adecuadamente a su ser querido antes de llevarlo a casa, y también organizar posiblemente una agencia de atención domiciliaria que puede ser capaz de agregar algo de fisioterapia, si es necesario, también como entrenamiento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Gracias.

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Y en línea, hay algunos programas de capacitación para cuidadores en línea. Depende del estado y la ubicación. También hay una organización llamada Alianza de cuidadores familiares a nivel nacional, y tienen muchos recursos para los cuidadores familiares.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, Dra. Harrington. Muy bien, soy consciente de nuestro tiempo. Y desafortunadamente, estamos llegando al final de nuestro evento. Antes de cerrar, me encantaría pedirle a cada una de nuestros distinguidas panelistas que nos den sus pensamientos finales, comenzando por Lori. Lori, ¿qué recomendarías que los socios de AARP deberían entender más de nuestra conversación de hoy?

LORI SMETANKA: Sí. Creo que solo un par de cosas. Una es recordar que el residente debería recibir la atención y los servicios que necesita. Incluso durante este tiempo durante la crisis de COVID, esa comunicación es realmente clave, solicitar a su instalación información y actualizaciones para saber qué está sucediendo en la instalación. Y también, hacerse escuchar, en términos de la necesidad de suministros y pruebas adicionales en centros de atención a largo plazo. Informe a las oficinas de su gobernador y legisladores que eso es realmente necesario y que estas instalaciones deben tener prioridad para las pruebas y los suministros.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Claudette, ¿alguna idea final para nosotros?

CLAUDETTE ROYAL: Estoy muy de acuerdo con los pensamientos de Lori. Y también, simplemente asegurarnos de que estamos teniendo en cuenta que los residentes están socialmente aislados en este momento, y hacer todo lo posible para comunicarnos con esas instalaciones y organizar ese contacto con los residentes. Necesitan tener esa interacción. Esto debería ser una prioridad para ellos. Y las instalaciones deberían permitirle tener eso. Realmente deberían comunicarse y tratar de organizar eso, ya sea visitas virtuales o visitas telefónicas.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Dra. Harrington, ¿pensamientos finales?

CHARLENE HARRINGTON: Sí, estoy de acuerdo con lo que se ha dicho. Y creo que lo principal es no ser tímido porque... Y no preocuparse por molestar a las instalaciones. Creo que es importante tener contacto con ellos y averiguar qué está pasando. Y también, trabajar con sus organizaciones locales, ya sea AARP o el defensor del pueblo o Consumer Voice, porque si tiene problemas, infórmelos e intente trabajar a través de las organizaciones para asegurarse realmente de que recibamos la atención que es necesaria para las personas durante esta crisis.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Maravillosos recordatorios de nuestras panelistas hoy. Ha sido una discusión informativa. Es realmente una situación devastadora por la que estamos pasando. Y quiero agradecer a cada uno de ustedes por su clara orientación. Y un recordatorio para garantizar que mantengamos abiertas las líneas de comunicación con las instalaciones. Y también, solo para citar a la Dra. Harrington y lo que dijeron nuestras tres invitadas, no hay que ser tímido. Realmente, es hora de hablar y exigir que cuidemos a nuestros seres queridos, sin importar dónde se encuentren.

Para concluir, quiero agradecerles a todos ustedes, nuestros socios de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en nuestra discusión de hoy. Nuevamente, si desea una llamada por parte de una voz amigable, Mi Comunidad con AARP tiene voluntarios capacitados a su disposición. Este es un servicio gratuito para todos los adultos, independientemente de su membresía. Y, de nuevo, ofrecemos algunas capacidades bilingües, incluido el español. Para conectarse ahora con Mi Comunidad de AARP, presione * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono y su llamada será derivada al servicio. Nuevamente, presione * 0 para conectarse con el servicio gratuito en este momento. Y si desea volver a llamar en cualquier momento, no dude en llamar al 888-281-0145. De nuevo, el número es 888-281-0145.

AARP es una organización compuesta por socios, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, y hemos estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores de Estados Unidos durante más de 60 años. Ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a aquellos que los cuidan a protegerse del virus y evitar que se propague a otros al cuidarse ellos mismos. Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas de hoy, se pueden encontrar en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus mañana, 24 de abril. De nuevo, esa dirección web es www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Diríjase allí si tiene preguntas que no se abordaron hoy. Encontrará las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo que los mantenga a usted y a su familia saludables. Esta noche, de hecho, tenemos otro evento a las 7:00 PM hora del este, donde nos vamos a centrar en la discusión sobre el impacto dispar del coronavirus. Y si no puede asistir al evento de esta noche, asegúrese de volver a sintonizar la próxima semana para nuestra teleasamblea regular de AARP el próximo jueves 30 de abril a la 1:00 PM hora del este, donde discutiremos el tema de cuidado generacional.

Gracias de nuevo. Que tengan un día maravilloso. Esto concluye nuestra teleasamblea.


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


Coronavirus: Disparate Impact on Communities

Experts at this live Q&A event addressed why some communities, particularly multicultural populations, are being hit harder by the pandemic, and how you can protect yourself. You can listen to a replay of the event below.

Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall, April 23, 2020, 7 p.m.

Jean Setzfand: Hello. I’m AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today, we’ll talk with experts about the disparate impact of the coronavirus, with a focus on why multicultural communities are facing greater challenges.

If you’ve participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you would like to ask a question about the disparate impact of the coronavirus, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name, your question, and place you in the queue to ask your question live. Again, if you’d like to ask a question, please press *3.

Hello, if you’re just joining us, I’m Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking to leading experts and taking your questions live. Again, to ask your question, please press *3.

Joining us today, we have three esteemed guests with us. We have Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director from the National League of Cities. We’re also joined by Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., president of the National Medical Association, and finally we have Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist from the Washington Post. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Mike Watson. Mike will be our organizer and help facilitate our live calls today.

AARP’s convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC. You can access their resources at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after our event tonight.

Today we’re talking to experts and taking your questions on the disparate impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. To ask your question, please remember to press *3.

This is a trying time for many of us, and AARP is advocating tirelessly for our members and all people age 50 and older during the pandemic. First, AARP fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will receive payments up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. They will not have to file additional paperwork in order to receive the payments. You can visit aarp.org/coronavirus to use AARP’s stimulus payment calculator to estimate the value of your payment. We’ve also fought to push for expanded unemployment insurance as well as paid sick leave and family leave for people who need to take time off to take care of themselves or their loved ones.

Here in Washington, D.C. and across the country, AARP representatives are fighting for you during this public health crisis on issues ranging from virtual visitation in nursing homes, telehealth, paid leave and more.

Let me just highlight a few examples for you. AARP state offices in Arizona, Missouri, Texas and West Virginia have fought to protect people from electric, gas and water disconnection and late payment fees. At a time when it’s more critical than ever to stay connected to your loved ones, many AARP state offices, including California, Connecticut, Tennessee and North Carolina are fighting to ensure that people can retain access to their telephones and broadband internet. In places like South Carolina, New Jersey, California and Wisconsin, AARP is working to ensure that residents have access to information and needed health care. AARP’s Illinois team has been named to Chicago mayor’s task force on racial inequality to stem the rise of deaths in that city. And in New York, Michigan and Massachusetts, we’re calling for more racial and ethnic data collection, outreach and testing in communities of color and seeking commitments from leaders to address the underlying issues of hunger, health, access, transportation and more.

These are important issues that communities are facing, and AARP staff and volunteers are proud to be fighting on them.

And speaking of volunteers, this week is also National Volunteer Week. So I want to recognize the incredible contribution of AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country who make their voices heard through phone calls, emails and much, much more. Thank you so much for all your service.

Now let me formally welcome our distinguished guests. Again, first, we have Clarence E. Anthony, who is the CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, the voice of American cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. Clarence began his career in public service as the mayor of South Bay, Florida, for 24 years and under his leadership, NLC, the National League of Cities has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to public safety, infrastructure, transportation and sustainability.

Next, we have Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks, who is the president of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Brooks is the medical director and past chief of pediatric and adolescent medicine at Watts Healthcare  Corporation in Los Angeles, California. He’s also the medical director for L.A. Care Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest Medicaid managed-care plans.

Finally, we have Michelle Singletary, who is the first personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, where she writes the nationally syndicated, award-winning column The Color of Money. She’s written three personal finance books and was the personal finance expert for The Revolution, a daytime program on ABC. And for two years, Michelle was the host of her own national television program, Singletary Says, on TV One. Thank you all so much for joining us today.

All right, let’s get started with our discussion. As a quick reminder for our listeners, please ask your questions by pressing *3.

Clarence, I’m going to turn to you first, and I’m going to jump right into it. So how are local governments responding to the pandemic, and as they respond, how are they addressing this very troubling data and information we’re hearing about African Americans and Hispanics seem disproportionately affected by the coronavirus?

Clarence Anthony: Yeah, Jean, thank you all for inviting the National League of Cities to be a part of this important conversation. And, as we know, the local leaders, the mayors, the council members are on the front line every day trying to continue to lead their communities through this unprecedented virus that we are experiencing. With over 800,000 cases and 45,000 deaths, local leaders have to step up and lead. You know, they are partnering with their health care providers. They are providing food to communities that don’t have access to food. They’re also working with their local businesses to be able to help them plan to get back to what we will never see as normal.

But one of the things, though, about this subject that we’re going to talk about is that local leaders really recognize the disparity that we have in regards to this COVID-19, and we must ask ourselves the question, you know, why is this data not being, wasn’t being collected before? And what does it really reveal? It revealed something that we’ve always known in America, and that is, we knew that race was still a strong predictor of one’s success in our country,  from infant mortality to life expectancy and what this virus has done, it’s identified that we have system failures as it relates to this crisis. And mayors, council members and all local elected officials must demand at the state level, as well as the federal working with CDC, that we collect this data, not just to have the data, but how do we address the issue of the historical system of loss that we’ve had in African American communities’ health, income, wealth, access to government resources.

So this is going to be a difficult challenge, but I know, I can tell you, that Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago recognizes that 32percent of the population is African American and 72 percent have been tested to have the virus. And that is, that is horrible. And we also know in Louisiana, black people represent 32percent of the state’s population; however, they account for 59percent of those cases that have been tested positive.

So local leaders recognize this, but we need a federal partner. We need state data, disaggregated in a way that we can now turn back and come up with solutions to deal with this historical issue that America has not addressed in the past.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you for that, Clarence. I think it is important first and foremost, as you say, to collect the information and, if anybody can do it, the local leaders can with their action bias. So thank you for that.

I’d like to turn to Dr. Brooks. We just heard Clarence talk about the data showing that people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, cited information specifically around Chicago, Louisiana. Why is this the case? And what can we do differently to address this problem?

Oliver Tate Brooks: All right, and a good evening to all, and I appreciate AARP hosting this discussion on disparities and the impact of coronavirus. So I represent the African American physicians, which the NMA represents, but the NMA also represents the African American community, and this is a critical issue. Latinos also are found in these numbers, sort of these disparities. My primary statements will relate to the African American community, but the Latino population is also suffering.

So why is this happening? So again, national data showing two or 2½ times the rate of hospitalizations and death; and we disaggregate it, but I think it’s also good to look at it on an aggregate level. So generally, overall, we’re seeing two to 2½ times the rate of hospitalizations and deaths by COVID from African Americans.

So basically the way I look at it, it is a toxic mixture of three primary things that we see. Okay. The minorities have, we have more of what are called comorbidities. We come into this sicker. Now note these three things all intertwine, and there’s a thread that goes through all of them, that connects them. So, as it relates to that, we are seeing that COVID-19 causes, has higher impact on those with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, lung disease. African Americans have twice the incidence of diabetes, 20percent more hypertension, 30 percent more likely to be obese. So that’s there. So that puts us right in the mix for having worse outcomes.

Next is social determinants of health. Basically, those are economic stability, physical environment, education, food community or food security, social content, and health care systems. So a few brief examples: We are more likely to live in housing where you cannot separate. It’s six people in a two-bedroom house; that’s going to be a problem. You have, and it will be spoken on by Ms. Singletary, but our wealth is one-tenth that of the white population. So you have the social determinants of health, which is a significant issue, and then we tend to be uninsured, twice as likely to be uninsured. There is a study that shows, tell me a zip code, and I will tell you your life expectancy. So that’s out there.

And then the third mixture, of comorbidities and social determinants of , is implicit bias. So we just call it what it is. It’s racism. It’s just, there has been a history of racism in our country. And just to describe it, I’m just going to give a story that was presented in the Detroit Free Press about a week ago, I think it was on the 19th or something. A gentleman named Gary Fowler went to three different hospitals, he had symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, cough. Could not get tested, did not get admitted. Went home, died in his easy chair.

Okay, the day after they took his body to the mortuary, his wife went to the hospital, and they would not test her. Someone came in, said, “I ate some bad sushi, and my stomach is upset.’ They took her back and treated her as if she had coronavirus.

So there’s a bias that we have to address that’s going on in this country. And there are a number of things that we can do. And primarily, we need to be very scrupulous about prevention; wash your hands, cover your cough. Have to advocate for ourselves. Okay, if your blood pressure is high, get it under control. If your diabetes is out of control, take your medications. And we need to just have a clear understanding, we need better testing, which was mentioned, and there are lots of other things we can do. We can discuss those as we move forward.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much. Thank you for highlighting that so clearly in terms of the three factors— Michelle, let me turn to you. As much as we just talked about coronavirus being a health crisis, we know that this is quickly impacting our pocketbook, too. How has the economic fallout of the pandemic affected different areas of the economy and are people of color also being hit harder?

Michelle Singletary: Well, thanks again for having me as well. I think this is a great forum and conversation so far. I think Dr. Brooks hit it on the nail. You know, we were already behind—and I say “we” because I’m an African American—we’re already behind in so many areas economically, and much of it, but not a fault of our own, the legacy of racism. We like to think that if we have overcome, and we have a lot of things, but there’s still a lot of discrimination that has resulted in housing crisis for African Americans; we’re underemployed. Our pay is still not equal. The net worth—and the net worth is tied to housing because we have homes, but in our neighborhoods, because they’re redlined, they don’t have the same value and appreciation. My home in a different neighborhood would probably be worth twice what it’s worth in my own community.

We’re more in it right now with the virus, many people can work from home except for African Americans because the type of jobs they have don’t, don’t allow for that. And so, I mean, there’s this old saying that went, “When the country got a cold, we got a flu.” Well, my goodness, we have already had a pandemic before there was an official pandemic. And that’s really tragic because we will come out of this, but I’m afraid that African Americans will be further behind because this crisis, this economic crisis is so deep.

Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. I think, again, and calling attention to this is one of the things that we want to do to raise the voice and also bring some more attention to it. So thank you so much, Michelle.

Dr. Brooks, I think Michelle just mentioned this whole issue of, of people having to leave their home, particularly people within the communities of color have to leave their house in order to work. And there’s more, I think. There are, as Michelle mentioned, people within the communities of color having to leave their house rather than teleworking. What advice do you have and preventative measures especially if there’s, again, a multigenerational home? If you have grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren, or living in multigenerational homes, how can people stay safe even if they’re leaving their house? What can they do?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Right. So, I think that’s a great question. It’s a difficult question. And there is actually no clear guidance. So this is just an amalgam of information that I would have to think about to give an answer. So what would I say? I’d say first of all, as best they could, if they came back home, they could self-isolate. Now that’s kind of impractical. I mean you live there; the other people live there. So that would be ideal. Be in another room altogether.

But that’s not going to happen. So what I, what I would do is first of all, the person that needs to focus is the person who’s going out, that’s really important. So if you’re going out, you would really be scrupulous about infection control; wear a mask 100 percent of the time that you’re around people. Wash your hands more often, for example; that when you’re out, keep that physical distance, that six foot, even with the mask. Just remember masks protect other people from you. It doesn’t protect you from them, the general masks that we wear. I would say if you can cover your clothing; a jacket, a gown, something so your clothing is protected.  

Now you, you’ve come out, you’re coming back home. After you leave work, after you leave work, wash your hands when you get in the car or however you leave. ’Cause you want the connection from work over. That’s what I would say. And then, when you come home, take off that jacket or whatever you have, leave it outside. Don’t bring it in the house. And I would say at home, be very clear, wipe down those counters, cover your cough, and I’d also say for grandparents, grandchildren just don’t be as huggy and lovey. Give some virtual hugs, you know, just try to just practice what you feel is good hygiene. And one other thing I would ask, would suggest is for children, clean their toys, clean their phones, clean their electronic devices, and then people should not share utensils or drink after each other. So those are just some of some of the questions, some of the ways that I would answer that question.

Jean Setzfand:  Really good practical advice. I think I’ve heard a lot of people talk about physical distance in addition to social distancing, and I think you’re reminding us a lot of that as well. And since you mentioned the handwashing, I’ve also read or seen guidance around gloves. What do you think about that? Does that help at all in terms of wearing gloves, particularly at work?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So I have mixed feelings about gloves. I think gloves serve a purpose. For example, I use gloves when I go out and get gas because I can get the gas, I can whatever I have to do with my credit card, then take the gloves off and throw them away. The problem with gloves, I think people get a false sense of security. So they have on gloves, they’re at work, they’re on keyboard. They go somewhere to lunch, and they’re in the lunchroom, then they come back, still have the gloves. And they touch their face or something. You get this feeling that with gloves, your hands are pure or something, but remember, everything that a glove touches is the same as your hand touches, and people don’t tend to wash their gloves. So I would say that if you really are comfortable in knowing how to use gloves and understand that everything you touch is on that glove, then, yes, but in general, I’m more in favor of frequent handwashing and then cleaning down surfaces.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Very clear guidance. Thank you so much for that, Dr. Brooks. All right, now I think now it’s time to take your questions. We have a lot of questions rolling in. So let me remind folks that if you want to ask a question, please press *3 to talk to Dr. Brooks, Clarence Anthony and Michelle Singletary. Again, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who’s going to take your question and put you in the queue.

Let me now reintroduce my AARP colleague Mike Watson, who’s going to facilitate our calls. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Watson: Thanks, Jean. I’m happy to be here for this important conversation.

Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. All right, Mike. I think you’ve probably queued up a couple of calls for us. Who’s online for us right now?

Mike Watson: Yes, we have Sonia from New York.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Sonia, what’s your question for us?

Sonia: Uh, my question is that I’m a senior. I live in a small town in an independent living community, yet the town supervisor, even though they sent out information, aren’t really going around to the different places where seniors live, because they don’t have computers or cellphones, we are really not apt to find out what’s going on and how we can be helped. The pantries are getting low and not everybody has money to go to the supermarket.

Jean Setzfand:  Great, thanks so much for your question, Sonia. I think this is a question, I’m going to address to, I’m going to ask Clarence. There’s different types of communities across the country and it sounds like Sonia lives in a smaller, more rural community. Any thoughts on how leaders within smaller communities are addressing this issue?

Clarence Anthony: Yeah. And, Sonia, thank you for that call. And there, initially the hot spots in America, well, it’s considered the larger urban communities, but what we’re seeing is that it is slower to reach rural communities, but the impact is growing faster and faster in those rural communities, especially in the senior population. And what we’re seeing is, is unique because the challenge is like threefold. First, the lack of transportation options. They’ve closed down some of the transportation modes that would bring people into communities or get them around their community and therefore those that really need the access to health care, they can’t get it.

The second thing is that, you know, seniors as well as vulnerable populations and black communities specifically, they talk about driving up, just common-sense things. And local leaders are now raising their voice around trying to make sure these transportation modes are there. The access to health care is a big, big problem. And what is starting to happen there is mayors and councilmembers are using transportation modes or bringing access to those citizens by working with their county and state level to go to those facilities to get people out and to get them into a health system that would help them.

And third, I think Sonia was right. Broadband, 100 percent is a problem for rural communities. You know, especially, again, African American communities and poor vulnerable communities. That is the last place in Washington, D.C., and Chicago and other large cities that they go into the black community to have 5G and 4G. Rural communities are even further behind, and being a former mayor of a rural city, I can tell you that those health care factors and the life expectancy of people of color, as well as those that are in rural communities like that, is a lot lower than those that are in more dense communities.

So there is a recognition by the local government, and we’re fighting hard to try to get money to those rural communities.

Jean Setzfand:  That’s terrific. I know your organization’s been fighting hard to give access, greater access to smaller communities, so thank you for that advocacy. All right, Mike, who else do we have online? Who’s the next caller?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean, our next caller is going to be Pauline from Alabama.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Pauline. What’s your question for us?

Pauline: Good evening and thank you for allowing me to participate. My question is, I have a friend that is 50 plus years old, retired, and she receives Medicare benefits. And she filed for her stimulus package, and she said they told her that she doesn’t qualify. She’s also a caregiver for her mom and a lot of her money, her mother doesn’t have much finances coming in, so she uses mostly her mother’s money for her mother. So what does she do?

Jean Setzfand:  Good question, Pauline. Regarding the economic stimulus, Michelle, can I ask for your help on that question?

Michelle Singletary: Yeah. I’m not sure why she, I think she might be getting some misinformation because the stimulus package is based on your adjusted gross income. So unless this caregiver is, as an individual, is making more than adjusted gross income of more than $75,000, she absolutely does qualify for the stimulus money of $1,200. I think there’s been some confusion about how you collect it. So maybe that’s what it is. And so if you’re—well, she wouldn’t be on Social Security—so if you don’t file a tax return, or you’re not required because you don’t make enough, you do have to use a tool on irs.gov to put in your information so they know that you’re there, so that you can get your payment. Otherwise, if you filed a 2018 or 2019 return, and you meet those income levels, it’s $75,000 or less for individual and a hundred, and double that for couples, she would get the money. So I think there’s probably been some misinformation. I’m pretty sure that her friend does qualify for the stimulus money.

Jean Setzfand:  That’s really helpful. And then you also mentioned going to irs.gov. Is there a particular place on irs.gov Pauline should check out?

Michelle Singletary: Yeah, go, when you go to the home page, and be very careful when you type it in because we don’t want them sending you to some wrong places, so it’s irs.gov. On the home page, it’ll say "non-filer," if you don’t normally file a tax return. If you filed a return, and you want your money direct-deposited, you would use the “get my payment” tool. But again, if for federal, maybe she’s not tech savvy, as long as you have a return from the IRS for either those two years, 2018, 2019, you will get your money, but it will be sent through a check.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. Very clear. Appreciate that, Michelle. All right. Mike, who else do we have on the phone tonight?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Beatrice from Missouri.

Jean Setzfand:  Beatrice, hi. What’s your question for us?

Beatrice: Good evening. My question is this; per the media, African Americans comprise the largest percentage of deaths in the U.S. from the COVID-19 virus. Taking under consideration the population, the percentage of population in the United States by Caucasian Americans and African Americans, am I to believe that more African Americans with underlying chronic health conditions exist in the United States than whites?

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that question, Beatrice. Dr. Brooks, I think you covered this before in terms of the statistics and the underlying, sort of health profile across the U.S. Can you refresh our memories with that again, to address Beatrice’s question?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So certainly, and thank you, Beatrice, for asking the question. In percentages, we have, African Americans have higher rates of hypertension, which is the number one link to having an adverse outcome; 20 percent more diabetes, twice, 2.2 times as common among African Americans as the white population; obesity, 30 percent as common. And, but I wanted to, there’s one other thing, too, Beatrice, the studies are also showing that if you get your conditions under control, you’re less likely to have a problem with it. So again, I just want to emphasize, so to answer your question, yes, it’s just in raw numbers  there may not be more deaths, but as relates to percentages it’s a much higher level among the African American population, because, yes, we just have those conditions for the reasons that I delineated. And I appreciate the surgeon general putting a spotlight on this issue with disparities.

Clarence Anthony: Jean, can I add to that? If you don’t mind? This is Clarence.

Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. Absolutely.

Clarence Anthony: Yeah. I was also going to add to that, that also comes with some systemic practices that America has had. You know, the siting of oil refineries, waste facilities; some of that has caused us to have some of the breathing problems that we’ve had in America because of that. The diabetes, we have food deserts in the African American communities where we don’t have the quality vegetables, that we have the markets and the stores there that sells poor quality food. And so you go where it is in your neighborhood. And thirdly, it gets back to health care and access to health care. Being able to access that health care in a timely manner is very difficult and the cost associated. So yeah, it is true. But some of that has been systemic practices of America. And I think that, you know, Michelle talked about that a little bit in terms of redlining in housing. So, you know, some of this is historical in our system.

Jean Setzfand:  Great, so the pandemic is also sort of raising some underlying systemic issues within our communities that we have to resolve. And going back to Dr. Brooks, and the point around getting the health conditions under control: Given the circumstance right now with either doctors and hospitals filled with more cases and likely more instances of contamination, any guidance on our listeners tonight in terms of what to do, leveraging potentially telehealth or how, any guidance on that in terms of seeking safe routes to get access to health care right now?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Right. That’s the next, that’s an excellent question, and we’re dealing with that on a daily basis. So you mentioned telehealth. Telehealth is very, very important at this point in time. A lot of information that you may need in terms of your health you can get through telehealth communication. And even look at blood pressure, so for example, in L.A., blood pressure, automated blood pressure cuffs are covered by Medicaid. So theoretically, let’s say it’s not covered, go spend the $30 it costs to go buy them and then measure your own blood pressure. A lot of people that have diabetes, they measure their blood glucose levels. So you can do a lot to help yourself. Right now, a lot of places are not having nonessential visits, so you bring up a very good point regarding that. So you don’t have to be in the doctor’s office to get yourself healthy.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that guidance. All right, let’s turn back to the phone lines. Mike, who do we have on the phone?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Pam from New York.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Pam, what’s your question for us?

Pam: Hi, my question is about the Family Leave Act. I have it through my work for my mom for on days that she’s not doing well. She’s 79 years old, and I had put in my days here from March 13th on, but they’re telling me that the state or whoever hasn’t approved that Family Leave can pay people for taking care of their parents and not working through this coronavirus.

Jean Setzfand:  Right. Well, thank you for that question and thank you for taking care of your mom. That’s most important. Michelle, can I turn to you for that question? Any guidance on the Family Leave Act?

Michelle Singletary: Well, I’m wondering if she means the provision of the CARES Act where if you are unemployed, there’s extended benefits even if your hours are reduced, but I’m not sure why she would not be approved under the Family Leave Act. Dr. Brooks or Anthony, would you know more about that? I don’t, I’m afraid I don’t have the answer for her.

Oliver Tate Brooks: I really can’t shine any light on that. I’m sorry.

Jean Setzfand:  No, that’s quite all right. Great. Well, thank you for that, and I think, Michelle, I think you’re giving good guidance to check two places, right? I think both employer and if there’s some access to the expanded unemployment benefits, I think that’s also another place to look.

Michelle Singletary: Yeah, right. I think, I mean you would be checking with the employer for the approved leave, and then if she was trying to access the unemployment part of the CARES Act where they extended it for people who had to leave their job to take care of someone as a part of this pandemic than they were supposed to get extended benefits. Now, in many states, that’s not happening because the systems are just overwhelmed, and they can’t get to people.

Jean Setzfand:  Right. So that’s also another good reminder to be persistent as well. So thank you for that. All right, Mike, let’s go back to the phone line. Who is our next caller?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually going to be from YouTube. Ronell from YouTube asks, “What do you know if people, if you know, a person who has been walking around exposed to COVID-19, possibly infecting other people and refusing to get tested?”

Jean Setzfand:  All right. That’s a, somewhat of a troubling question. Let me start with Dr. Brooks. So if you know somebody who’s probably, knows that somebody else has been exposed to COVID-19, and may be asymptomatic or symptomatic, walking around but refuses to get testing, what’s your guidance on that front?

Oliver Tate Brooks: That’s a good question, it’s an interesting question. So what I would recommend, and that does, that bothers me, because theoretically, for example, if someone has tuberculosis, we can actually, we can quarantine them, we can isolate them, the Department of Public Health has that authority. What I would do is I would call your local or county public health department and report, I would, I mean again, it’s interesting, it’s like being a private investigator. I would get as much information as I could, specifically the person’s name and date of birth if you could, and then I would report them. I would say, this is what I am observing, because you can’t as an individual act on that, but there may be provisions under your state or local authority that would allow them to, I will say, investigate this person. That’s what I would recommend.

Michelle Singletary: Can I get add one quick thing? This is Michelle. I think we all need to be very careful. I mean, I think Dr. Brooks is right, but I think we need to be careful because we’re all very paranoid right now and many of us think we have it, and we’re not sure, and quite frankly, despite the, what the administration is saying, not everybody can get a test who wants a test. So we’re not even sure this person is not getting it because they just can’t. You know, my daughter has asthma, and she had a cold when she came home from college, so obviously we were very concerned. And when she called and the doctor asked her a litany of tests, and they were like, well, no, you can’t get a test. Just wait and see what happens. As it turns out, it was just a cold, she didn’t get any high fevers.

So, and then there are people who want to know if someone in their building has it. Should the, you know, the apartment complex inform the other residents? You know, there are privacy laws, there are HIPAA reports, Dr. Brooks knows much more about this, but we can’t go around, you know, making people tell us what they have and if they have it or not. I think, as an individual, we need to make sure we take the precautions that Dr. Brooks mentioned so that we don’t catch it, but we don’t want to get into a state where, you know, somebody calls.—I mean I was on a, I don’t know where I was on a plane or something, and somebody coughed and everybody sort of just stopped and like panicked, you know? I mean, it was like, oh, they coughed! And I, I mean I have allergies, my husband has allergies, and I find myself saying, no, no, no, he has allergies, he has allergies.

So just, you know, let’s just take a pause and recognize that people have medical privacy as well. You can’t make someone take a test, but you certainly should practice and encourage people, but recognize that even if someone thinks they have it, they may not necessarily be able to be tested right now.

Jean Setzfand:  That’s a really good point. And I’m actually going to go back to Dr. Brooks on that, too. What guidance do you have for us right now because there may be some limitations on those testing facilities and getting access to a test.

Oliver Tate Brooks: So two things for us; I do appreciate Ms. Singletary’s statement. Our presumption from the question was this person was overtly like spreading, like going around coughing with no mask or something like that. And I guess from where, from my perspective, at least in California, you have to wear a mask just to even go out. So that was my mindset, that theoretically you’re seeing somebody walking around that by law is to be masked, and they’re not masked.

So, I do, therefore, appreciate Michelle’s comments. So testing is real tricky. It varies from locale to locale. Some places are testing everyone, some places are limiting it to, if you have, there’s particular symptoms. So, and what she stated also is true. You may want to get tested and can’t get tested because you didn’t pass the screening criteria. So what’s going to happen over the next weeks and months is there’s going to be more and more testing. So there’s no clear answer to your question because it’s very variable. I would submit that if you are symptomatic, and right now primarily we’re talking about fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, in some places GI symptoms are also part of it. If you screen positive, you should be getting tested. But again, the testing criteria are being more and more relaxed. Some areas, if you’re a health care worker you can get tested, in some areas if you’re 60 or 65 and older, you can get tested without any other criteria.

So I would say look to your local area to see exactly how testing is going, and again, I’d say look to your local health department, and not just state health department.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. That’s very helpful. Let me remind folks that if you do have a question to please again, press *3 to be able to access one of our staff members to get your question in the queue.

Before we go back to your questions, I just wanted to highlight a service that AARP has. Sometimes hearing a friendly voice can help during this challenging time. AARP Community Connections is a toll-free service for adults 18 and older. We have trained volunteers standing by to provide a friendly call or just to say hello. If you’d like to speak to someone Monday through Friday, 9 to 5  Eastern time, call 888-281-0145. They’ll leave your information with us, and a volunteer will call you back. And if you prefer, we can set up a recurring call; for example, Wednesdays at 2 o’clock just for a quick check-in. Again, this is a free service for all adults, regardless of membership. We do have some bilingual capabilities as well, including Spanish, and that number again is 888-281-0145.

All right, let’s turn back to our experts and learn some more from them. I’m going to turn to Clarence. We talked a little bit about this already in terms of, quote unquote hot spots that are most affected by the coronavirus. We’re seeing that mostly in the densely populated parts of the country. We talked a little bit about this with the previous caller, too, but because we see that smaller communities and rural areas are feeling the effects as well. How are different types of communities feeling the impact? How have they responded? Clarence, you told us a little bit about this before, tell us a little bit more about what National League of Cities is doing on this front.

Clarence Anthony: Yeah. That’s a good question. Again, I talked a little bit about the perspective on the news. You see so many large cities in the news and getting resources from the federal government directly. And in the past three bills, especially the CARES Act, if you were a city with a population of 500,000 or higher, you got direct funding from the local government, from the federal government. And if you were not, you had to basically go and beg the federal government or the state government for money. And that’s disappointing in that a lot of the impact, again, it’s moving slowly, but it’s going into these rural communities. The Oklahoma, the Mississippi, the Alabama, you’re seeing it tick up in North Carolina and South Carolina.

And what we’re doing is helping those elected officials to be able to advocate, to try to get money directly from the federal government, one, but secondly, advocating to get testing for their citizens and residents in those communities. We also saw where some communities, you know, Albany, Georgia, for example, as one of the highest per capita of their population tested high for COVID-19, and it was because some of the practices were still occurring in some of these rural communities. They were still having church services, funeral services, and so, we are advocating and pushing and giving tools to our leaders to help them to first educate and get services to those communities. And if we don’t focus on that population and get the resources down, America really is going to have a hard time rebounding economically. And so we’re focused on that as we are focused on the larger community.

Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. I think there’s a real tension there. And as I think we’re hearing more and more in the news about restarting again in some communities, I’m sure, you know, that’s a really hard decision to make. Anything that you’re hearing across the country from your members about that topic of, again, restarting in certain communities?

Clarence Anthony: Yeah. We are in constant contact, our mayors and councilmembers with the federal government and the state government. And our leaders are very concerned. They’re very concerned that we are in a rush to open back up for business, when we are not prepared. We are concerned that we may see, and Dr. Brooks may know better on this, we may see another bump, a major bump in the fall if we go back too quickly. So what local leaders are hoping is that we can get our governors to understand that we should not sacrifice the lives of people just to open back up.

The governor in Georgia is an example. Our leaders in Georgia feel that he’s irresponsible, insensitive and only focused on trying to open up businesses, so that the economy would bounce back, for political reasons, you know, and he’s talking about opening up beauty parlors and barbershops and places like that, massage parlors. And one great leader, I will tell you, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose family was in the beauty supply business that she was not going to act by allowing those facilities to open back up. But what she also did, she took a, made a step forward. She created a fund for the beauty supply industry so that she can get monies to them so that if they don’t open, they will have money to help them with their bills. You know, that’s what local leadership is all about. We don’t need to open up at this point. We don’t need to rush because if we do, we will see thousands and thousands more lives taken in our communities, especially the African American community.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you so much for that, Clarence, what a great example there. And speaking of sort of economics, Michelle, let me turn to sort of this whole issue of personal finance. What advice do you have for people who are in an economic crisis right now? They’re probably thinking about their immediate balance sheets versus sort of that longer term impact in those decisions and the tension between those. What tips and pointers do you have for them?

Michelle Singletary: So I’d like to talk about it, and Dr. Brooks, forgive me if I don’t use this the right way, but I try to encourage people to triage their bills, like an emergency room with triage patients. So if you’ve ever had to go to the emergency room and it’s full of people and not enough staff, they take the most critical patients first, and that’s fair. That makes sense. So you need to do the same thing with your bills. Pay the critical bills first. Those are your necessities; the roof over your head, food on the table, if you need to go out to work, transportation, and then let everything else go that you can let go. Right now, if you are laid off or furloughed or your income has been disrupted or maybe your spouse’s income has been disrupted, your credit card bill is not a priority. You call the lenders and say, I cannot pay this. Please give me a forbearance. And many of them, almost everybody is right now, and take that forbearance, don’t worry about your credit score right now. That’s something that you can worry about down the road. Because you need to take care of yourself, just like those doctors take care of the most critical patients first. Yeah, your, you know, your hand has been bruised, maybe you dropped a hammer on it or something, and it may be, you know, it’s a sprain, but that person who has a heart attack has to go first. So your mortgage, your rent, food, you know, insurance that you need to keep that car going in case you get in an accident, those are what you prioritize. And I know that, you know, lots of people want to be financially responsible, they want to pay all your bills, but this is a critical time, you know, when we have an extraordinary economic issue going on right now and it requires extraordinary measures.

Now, if you are working and your income hasn’t been disrupted and you never built that emergency fund, now is the time to do that. It’s just like Dr. Brooks talked about taking care of yourself, so you were like living high, living above your means, taking them cruises and them vacations and stuff, you know, and now that you’re stuck in the house, use all that money that you would’ve spent going out and doing all the stuff that you shouldn’t do, build up that emergency fund because your job is not guaranteed either. I don’t care if you work for the federal government, state government or, you know, me at the Post. I’m not counting on my job to be there. This is a crazy economy we have now because of the pandemic. So save that money. Cash is king right now. So even if you are on an aggressive debt payment plan, if you have a job that you’re not sure is very secure, you want to build up your emergency fund now.

Now listen, if you’re home and your finances are pretty tight, you’re good, you always were frugal and you have extra, this is the time to let go some of that money and help other folks, be it in your family, your church community, you know who needs help, who’s lost their jobs. Send them some money through PayPal or cash apps so they can buy some groceries, you know, because we are our sister’s and our brother’s keepers right now. And so those are sort of the three categories of people I talk about. And, you know, we are all in this together. And so depending on where you are on that, I need you to do those things to make sure that yourself, that you are, you know, financially secure.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that really clear guidance, Michelle, of helping yourself and helping others. That’s terrific. All right.

Before we turn back to your questions, I do want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers are, unfortunately, trying to get your money and your personal information by pitching fake cures, offering bogus investments, impersonating medical professionals to collect payments, posing as global health authorities to conduct email campaigns designed to load malicious software on your device, steal passwords and other credentials. Google recently reported that they filtered more than 18 million phishing and malware emails every day from their email service. And yesterday, the Justice Department said that U.S. law enforcement agencies and website operators have taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites, including some that spoof government programs and entities. So if you can spot a scam, which we’ve just told you a lot about, you can stop a scam. So go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn how you can spot and avoid COVID-19 and other scams. You can also report scams or get help if you feel like you’ve been victimized at AARP’s Fraud Watch Network helpline, and that number is 877-908-3360. Again, that number is 877-908-3360.

Wonderful. We’re going to turn back to your questions again, a time to address your questions with Dr. Brooks of the National Medical Association, Clarence Anthony of the National League of Cities, and Michelle Singletary from the Washington Post. And let me remind listeners that if you have a question, please remember to press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. And again, for more information or access to this recording and other resources and other events that we’ve had, please go to aarp.org/coronavirus.

All right, let’s take more questions. Mike, who do we have on the line?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next question is going to come from Marcus in Rhode Island.

Jean Setzfand:  All right, Marcus, your question for us.

Marcus: Hello, thank you to all the speakers for your comments and work on disparities. I want to frame my question. I’m thinking about the Spanish flu pandemic, you know, 1918 to ’20, and the impact, the overwhelming impact that it had in Africa and the African American community here in the United States. I want to be able to, in my advocacy, I want to be able to point to some of that historical data on how that impacted those communities economically over the long term. Do you have any suggestions for, or information about that historical data or any contemporary data that I can point to in my discussions?

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that good question, Marcus. Let me begin with Dr. Brooks. So harkening back to the Spanish flu, what can we learn from that?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Well, he’s speaking of the African American communities and the African continent, and I can’t speak to that directly as an economic issue, but I can speak to it from  infection control, that when there was contact tracing, when people followed who had the flu and isolated those people that they were exposed to, we found that that was what stopped, or at least diminished, the death rate from the Spanish flu. As it relates to how that affected the continent and then African Americans, I just don’t have any particular data. But infection control, what we’re doing now is learned from what they did then.

Jean Setzfand:  Great, thank you for that. All right, Mike, who else do we have on the line? Who’s our next caller?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Ursula from Michigan.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Ursula. What’s your question for us?

Ursula:  My question is, I’m calling for my daughter, she’s self-employed, she’s a beautician, got her own little store, and she’s been out of work since March 24th. And the question is, she tried to get unemployment benefits and was turned down. And the question now is, is she getting any stimulus from the government or not?

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that question. Michelle, I’m going to turn to you for that question. Again, I think there’s a question related to access to the stimulus or potentially unemployment for somebody who’s self-employed.

Michelle Singletary: So I want to encourage her daughter to appeal the decision, the claim, because a lot of the states, because their systems are crowded and there’s lots of people, have made mistakes in denying people. So there’s an appeals process. Every state has one. Obviously, everything is overwhelmed right now, but she might as well go through that because there could be a mistake along the way. And also, with the CARES Act, the states were allowed to add nontraditional people to the unemployment insurance rolls. So it could be that this state has decided that in her area they aren’t going to give that payment, but I would definitely file an appeal.

And secondly, if she is an individual and she is not claimed on someone else’s tax return, it doesn’t sound like it is, and she’s running her own business, and as an individual she made $75,000 or less, she is definitely eligible for the stimulus money, and that would be $1,200. If she has children under 17, she would be eligible for an additional $500 per eligible child. So, but she has to file a return, in either 2018 or 2019. If she has not filed a return and, you know, some, I’m not saying her daughter, but some people, you know, who work for themselves may not necessarily have been following the tax laws like they were supposed to, but she can go into the non-filer tool to put in information so that she can get a check. Right now they’re not trying to chase anybody down who has, you know, taxes, any other thing. They’re not going to snatch the money if you owe back taxes. The only reason why they will take the check is if you have back child support.

So I would encourage her mostly to filing a claim, an appeals claim for the unemployment, and she would definitely be eligible. If she hasn’t filed a return, use the non-filer tool. If she did, and maybe they don’t have her direct-deposit information because she didn’t get a refund, she should use the “get my payment” tool. And if I could just add, on the Washington Post website we have “Your Money in the Pandemic” kind of page, which has a lot of FAQs, frequently asked questions, that involve the small business loan, the stimulus payment, unemployment. Every week or so we’re adding new FAQs to that, so that a lot of the questions that people can’t get through on this program, they’ll be able to find answers to that on this landing page at washingtonpost.com.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that, Michelle. I think a good, potentially good news for our caller. Not only is it an “or” situation between unemployment and the stimulus, but it could be an “and” situation. So checking out both resources will be helpful. Thank you for that. All right, Mike, who’s our next caller?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Terry from South Carolina.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Terry, what’s your question for us?

Terry: Yes, thanks for taking my call. What is neighborhood redlining and who is designing this?

Jean Setzfand:  Great question, Terry. I think we mentioned this on the call earlier. Clarence, why don’t you take us through that again, the whole issue of unfortunate redlining.

Clarence Anthony: Yes. The history of city planning came, brought this to head in a way where, cities were designing parts of communities, whether it was housing and businesses. And what they did was they oftentimes created certain areas or developed certain areas that they designed housing and other programs in those communities, and those communities were sometimes the less desirable communities. And they put a population of folks in those communities.

The first practice of redlining really occurred through the GI Bill, when the federal government and all of the soldiers came back, and the vets got all of these loans. And first they weren’t giving loans to African Americans. And then, they started providing those loans, and African Americans started living and moving into those communities along with whites. And then the whites started moving out, because they did not want to stay in those communities. And therefore, less investment occurred in those communities and more attention then moved to where, what we refer to in urban planning it was white flight, into those communities away from those African American residents. But what was lost was the supermarket, the car dealerships, the movie theaters. But what was placed there could have been, you know, landfills, oil refineries and facilities like that.

So the history of redlining is really creating a space in cities and in areas that you located low-income people mostly. And it’s been a practice that the National League of Cities has been highlighting, because it is systemic, it’s racist and it has caused a lot of communities to be economically challenged. And I think, it’s already been said by Ms. Singletary, Michelle, that you know, housing and the investment in the house is probably your strongest investment that you will make. And the redlining has caused that not to be a place where black families can see their economics grow.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that background and context. And again, I think the pandemic is also shining a light on how devastating those systematic inequities are, also heightening the plight of, particularly, communities of color. So, thank you for giving us that background and context.

Mike, let’s turn to some more calls on the phone. Who’s our next caller?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Paul from Silver City.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Paul. What’s your question for us?

Paul: Well, my question , being both a physician and also a Zen priest, I’m very interested in the emotional well-being of people. I mean, I hear people talking about the physical problems and so forth, but what’s happening, what organizations are out there? What people are practicing their pro bono to sit and listen, and do we know who these organizations are, and what’s available? Because, yeah, it’s a tremendous amount of suffering that goes on, and the sale of guns is going up. I mean, I take a look at this and I say it’s very serious. So that’s my question.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much, Paul, for highlighting the mental well-being also. Dr. Brooks, let me begin with you. Any thoughts on Paul’s question there?

Oliver Tate Brooks: I think that it is excellent that he brought it up because we are affected by this on a mental, psychological, if you will, spiritual way. So, we do need to find some solace, if you will, in our lives. So, in terms of specific resources, again, your local or county, or mental health department will have resources. So you can go there. Like, for example, I know another thing that he didn’t mention is there is the concern about domestic violence in terms of someone really taking it out in the house. So there are resources in that area. I think that it’s important that he shined the light on this. That’s why I use the term physical distance instead of social distance, because you need to keep your physical distance, but you do have— don’t be socially distant. Call your friends. Call people you haven’t talked to in a long time. If you, obviously there’s no church, so there are virtual services for those who have that in terms of their faith-based practices. He’s Zen, so go inside yourself. Meditate. That calms you down. I think it is important to note, and I did, that stress is a beacon to your immune system. So if you are stressed because of this, you have a bit of emotional instability, that actually is harmful to you physically. Specific resources I cannot speak to, but I am sure they are there, and it’s something that perhaps the AARP can look at in terms of, after this call, some specific information on where to reach for something to which he refers.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thanks so much, Dr. Brooks, and although we don’t have medical staff online, I did mention earlier that AARP does have a service called AARP Community Connections. And again, it’s a toll-free service for all adults 18 and over. And we have trained volunteers standing by to provide friendly calls and just to say hello. To the point that Dr. Brooks just mentioned around physical distance versus social distance, here’s a way to actually have somebody to have a friendly, informal chat with. So, if anybody wants to take advantage of the service, we’re available to take your call Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Eastern time. The number to call is 888-281-0145. Leave your information with us and a volunteer will call you back. That number again is 888-281-0145.

All right, let’s move onto our next question. Mike, who’s our next question?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually coming from YouTube. So this is Catherine from YouTube, and she said, ‘I’m worried about losing my job and my health insurance benefits. I need coverage. What is available if I lose my benefits? And is anyone working to address this?”

Jean Setzfand:  Great question from Catherine. Michelle, can you help us with this? Even though it’s about health insurance, I think this person’s concerned about, again, the high numbers of unemployment we’re hearing about and possibly losing their employer coverage, an employer-based health coverage. What can Catherine do about that?

Michelle Singletary: So there are a couple of areas. So often when you lose your job-based health insurance, you can get COBRA, which is an extension of that employer health insurance. Now the downside is, it can be very expensive because you have to pay your share plus the share that your employer paid. So for a family of five, that can be, you know, a couple, you know, up to $2,000 a month. So who can afford that? Right? So, but it’s an option to keep your coverage until you can get another job.

There’s also, if you lose your job and qualify, at some point you could try to apply for Medicaid, which is the health insurance, a federal and state health insurance for low-income folks. And then, finally, there’s the health exchange. We commonly refer to it as Obamacare. So if you have a disruption in your income or are low income, you may qualify for subsidies through the health exchange. And so you would definitely want to look into that as well. And on the health exchange, there are going to be different types of policies. So if you don’t have a lot of money, you might just get a basic policy until you can get another job.

But this question sort of goes to this whole larger issue of our health insurance being connected to our job, and I hope, and I’m, you know, I’m a woman of faith, I’m just going to say, and I pray that this coronavirus has exposed the problems with our economy, our health insurance, our job security, and that finally we get to the point where we realize we cannot have a population where our jobs is connected to our health insurance. Which is why it just, why African Americans are so disadvantaged in here, because the jobs that they often have don’t have health insurance or don’t have good health insurance. And so, but there are avenues as COBRA, there’s Medicaid and then there’s health exchange. And that means you’re going to do a lot of homework, but it’s worth it so that you can be sure that you continue to get coverage for your family.

Jean Setzfand:  Thanks so much for that, Michelle.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Can I add one thing in there.

Jean Setzfand:  Please, Dr. Brooks.

Oliver Tate Brooks: So also, there’s a network of community health centers called Federally Qualified Health Centers, FQHCs, and you can get care if you are uninsured at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Generally there will be a copay. The copay is based on income, but you can also get care, and in that fashion, if you’re uninsured.

Jean Setzfand:  Okay. Thank you for that resource, too. Federally Qualified, what was the “A”? What does the A stand for? I’m sorry. 

Oliver Tate Brooks: FQHC, Federally Qualified Health Center.

Jean Setzfand:  Oh, health centers. FQHC—Federally Qualified Health Centers. Thank you so much for that. And while we were talking about that, one of my colleagues sent over some information from the last caller related to mental health supports. For those who are interested in getting some support from the national mental health hotline, that number is 800-662-4357. Again, that number is 800-662-4357 for the national mental health hotline.

All right, let’s turn to—

Oliver Tate Brooks: Quickly, Jean, also, if you go to CDC, and you click on “stress and coping,” there’s also, there are numbers there, National Disaster Distress Helpline and National Domestic Violence Hotline. So CDC is a source of information.

Jean Setzfand:  That’s terrific. That’s another great resource to access, the CDC, for stress and coping. Thank you so much for that. All right, Mike, who’s on the line for our next call?

Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean, our next call is going to be from Felipe.

Jean Setzfand:  Felipe, hello. What’s your question?

Felipe: Hi, my name is Felipe, and I’m calling in from Minnesota. I am a local elected official in Minneapolis, and I represent an area that is predominantly people of color, with the majority of our folks being black. And what I just, what we’ve realized is that folks really aren’t taking the guidance seriously around physical distancing, around wearing face masks, and so I was just curious if you all had any advice on how to be able to best communicate with communities of color on how to be able to stay healthy and take this seriously?

Jean Setzfand:  Good question, Felipe. You know, a local elected official, let me begin with Clarence to see if he has any guidance from other members. And then we’ll also ask some of our other panelists as well. Clarence?

Clarence Anthony: Yes, Councilman, thank you very much and I appreciate you calling in. That is an important element that we need to address, and that’s making sure that accurate information is being provided to the African American community in Minneapolis and every community, because there has been information that has been shared that is not accurate around, that this will not impact African Americans. And we’ve seen that, that that is not a fact. A couple of things; first, local government is the most trusted level of government, and you have to use that to communicate and to make sure that information is sent directly to the African American community. And then, I think you have to look at those important figures in the black community in Minneapolis, whether it’s the ministers, whether it’s teachers, whether it’s doctors, or any other health care providers, and using social media in a way to reach those communities.

I’ve also got to tell you that we’ve talked about and know that a lot of African Americans may be getting this because they are in the service industry type job; whether it is still working at Home Depot, Walmart or other stores, whether it’s still working at restaurants where they’re saying you can take out, whether it’s drivers on mobility, the Ubers, the Lyfts. So some of this is because we’re most often required, even though we don’t want to, to go to some of these jobs because this may be the only job I have, that they have. So I think gathering on a virtual call with some of those leaders, using your role as a council member to bring people together and to use some communication strategies to get the word out in simple terms, that shows the increase in the African American community. And that if you don’t take this seriously, you know, not only will you lose your life, but you can lose your entire family life.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that.

Michelle Singletary: Can I add one quick thing?

Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely.

Michelle Singletary: Because I actually think that’s such a great question, because you know, it’s a culture. I love what I think Dr. Brooks said at the beginning, like you know, I’m a hugger by nature and I belong to a huge church and we just hug every time we have stopped for prayer, we’re hugging. And when this first started, you know, I was like, okay, I’m not, I just want to do the elbow. And it was hard to get our folks to not do that, ’cause it’s just who we are. And my pastor finally said, "Okay, listen, we gotta practice these things."
So I think that it’s very important, especially for communities of color, that where there’s lots of religious organizations and churches, to team up with pastors and leaders in the church to get the message to their folks. Because let’s be honest, a lot of our communities don’t trust the government, for legitimate reasons. And so if you want to get the message to the people you have to go through folks that they trust. And I mean like our doctors, our lawyers, our religious leaders, our pastors. You have to team up with them and give them the right information that they can give it to the folks. Because I personally think that it wasn’t until my pastor said, “All right, y’all, stop hugging,” that people stopped hugging.

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thanks so much for that, Michelle. And I think, I think hearing from a lot of local leaders and multiple points, sort of consistent messages is important. So I think, definitely in terms of what we see in terms of surveys, local leaders by far are probably the most trusted among selected, so I wanted to second that with Clarence. Did I hear another voice who wanted to add some more guidance on this point?

Oliver Tate Brooks: This is Dr. Brooks. I just have to, because again, that is such a key issue. In the beginning there were rumors that African Americans couldn’t get COVID because melanin or whatever the rumor  was, that was one of those. I was just on a call of experts, African American experts, and one of them said they had a flyer that was given to them that said, “COVID-19 is a hoax. Don’t get the vaccine.” So there’s also, it’s out there. There are messages, anti-self-preservation. So I think that what was stated that the message has to come from African Americans to African Americans in a culturally appropriate fashion that this thing is real, and to me it’s even doubly real, ‘cause we’re dying, not only is it real, we’re dying at higher rates. So the messaging has to be there. I believe strongly in it coming from the faith-based organizations, but also from black physicians. So the NMA stands strongly in support of getting the message right.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you all for that sort of  clear guidance that’s culturally based from multiple leaders’ consistent messages out there. Thank you so much. All right, we’re getting close to the end, but let’s try and get some more calls on the line. Mike, who else do we have on the call?

Mike Watson: Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually Michelle from Facebook who asks, “How do we address access to food for seniors who are living in community food deserts?”

Jean Setzfand:  Great. Great question. Clarence, I’m going to turn to you. You mentioned this a few times. How can we help this viewer from Facebook access food in a food desert?

Clarence Anthony: Yeah, I do think that’s a really good question, and it’s, it’s been difficult for local elected officials to be able to pull those resources together. But one of the things that we’re seeing is, even when it relates to kids, local leaders are providing three meals a day having people, again, this is transportation challenge, but having a facility there where you can come by and to be able to pick up the food. Local leaders are working with churches to be able to deliver food to seniors during this time. And you’re also finding a number of the fraternities and sororities in African American communities joining with mayors and councilmembers to be able to help get, you know, the food and resources that is needed, for the seniors in their communities.

And I can tell you another piece about this. I am probably on the phone, especially now with all of these virtual calls, talking to leaders, and one of the things I need to say that, you know, came to mind while you guys were talking about who sends the message. I gotta tell you, mayors, councilmembers, elected officials are human. And we’re also seeing them take risks. We’re seeing them losing sleep at night because of what is going on in their communities.

And the senior population is one of those challenging areas that they are working hard to be able to provide the service. So I’m hopeful that you will reach out to your local leaders, the trusted level, and say, if you’re not getting it, what can you do for me to get this service to seniors?

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you. Thank you for that guidance and also reassuring message that local leaders are working on behalf of vulnerable populations and the older population as well.

We are coming to the end of our event. And I’d love to kind of close out with some final thoughts from our distinguished panelists. Let me begin with Michelle. Michelle, any final thoughts and recommendations for our listeners tonight, our AARP members? What should they understand most from the conversation today?

Michelle Singletary: So I think, we’ve been talking about a lot of the issues and problems, but I actually like to lay out hope, right? I truly believe that this too shall pass, and that we, if you are suffering from this, you’ve lost your job, or maybe your caretaker is having some issues, that you try to get the help that you need. I recognize that there are a lot of us out there trying to help you. Most importantly, make sure you go to really good sources to get your information. Don’t listen to someone who calls you on the phone or that text message chain. You know, go to AARP, go to washingtonpost.com. We are working 14-hour days, and I’m not kidding you, to try to get you the right information to help you. And there’s a lot of stuff going on. There’s a lot of stuff not working, but there is lots of people out here, doctors and lawyers and the politicians, most of them, who are really trying to help you. Be patient, but know that at the end, this will end someday, and when it does, even if you have some, you know, financial—maybe you do lose your home, maybe you’ve got to move in with someone—at the end of that, there are those of us who are willing and able to help you reestablish yourself financially. We got through the housing crisis, and if you’re African American,  we got through some stuff, you know, way back from slavery. We will get through this, but you have to be smart about it and reach out and get the help that you need.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much, Michelle. Dr. Brooks. Any final thoughts for our listeners tonight?

Oliver Tate Brooks: First, I would co-sign everything that Michelle just said, and she laid it out so cogently. She said one part though, that was fast, that I’m going to go back to. Be patient. I am going to work every day, so I’m one of those essential workers that has to be out. I am seeing more traffic on the highways now. Nothing has changed in California. There’s not been a single adjustment into shelter at home and everything else, cover your coughs, essential workers only. But I feel people loosening up a little bit. So I would tell, especially to, let’s say the AARP population, one of the, the number one risk factor is age. That’s the one that we can’t control. So I would say, be patient. Don’t, you know, I love my granddaughter. I’ll just give her, to see her that one time. No, keep up your guard. This virus is sneaky. You have, it’s called a “novel” coronavirus, because it’s novel. We haven’t figured out how it is working. So I would say just be patient, keep up your guard, but in the end, actually exactly what Michelle said, this too shall pass.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you, Dr. Brooks. Clarence, we started with you, I’m going to end with you with the final word. What final thoughts do you have for our listeners tonight?

Clarence Anthony: Thank you for having me. I’m going to amen what Michelle said. I was so inspired by what she said and that it really lifted my spirit. One of the things I’ll say is one thing that is certain, that we’re in an uncertain time. But you know what, we will, as Michelle indicated, we will get through this.

Will we be the same? I don’t ever think we will ever be the same. I am similar. I’m a hugger. I’m a person that walks up to people and greet them with a smile and a hug. And I’ve had to even change that approach with friends and distant relatives. I think that as we look to the future, we’ve got to look at cities, we’ve got to look at the local communities. And we have to work to get the resources and direct funding to our members, to our cities, because that’s where the small businesses are. That’s where the senior services are. That’s where  mental health resources are. That’s where the jobs are. And we have to make sure that people of color, looking at the data, get the resources they need to recover. Because if we don’t get the resources and the health care that we need, this will continue to spread in our communities, and therefore, it will continue to spread in other communities because we are working all over cities and towns and villages, no matter how large or small. And I hope that we can continue to partner with AARP to get that message out, because we are living in an uncertain time. But we will get through this, and I just pray strength and guidance for all of us as we go through this.

Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much. This has been such an informative discussion for me, and I know for all of our listeners. I can’t thank you all enough for your clear guidance, your wisdom, your hopeful words, patience and persistence as we gather together to fight our way through this tough time. So thank you, thank you, thank you, again, for spending your evening and late afternoon with us.

And I want to thank all of you listeners, our AARP members, volunteers for participating in this discussion. And again, if you would like a call from a friendly voice, AARP’s Community Connections has trained volunteers standing by. This is, again, a free service for all adults regardless of membership, and we do, again, offer bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Feel free to call us anytime at 888-281-0145 to be connected. Again, the time to call is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time at 888-281-0145.

And AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, and we’ve been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for 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 and prevent the spread to others while taking care of yourself. All the resources we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on April 24th, that’s tomorrow. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus.

We hope that you can go there and if your question wasn’t addressed today, you’ll find the latest updates as well as other information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

We hope you learned something that will keep you and your loved ones healthy. Be sure to tune back in with us next Thursday. Our next tele-town hall is next Thursday, on April 30th, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a good rest of the day. This concludes our call.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello. I’m AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today, we’ll talk with experts about the disparate impact of the coronavirus, with a focus on why multicultural communities are facing greater challenges.

[00:00:33] If you’ve participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you would like to ask a question about the disparate impact of the coronavirus, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name, your question, and place you in the queue to ask your question live. Again, if you’d like to ask a question, please press *3.

[00:01:00] Hello, if you’re just joining us, I’m Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking to leading experts and taking your questions live. Again, to ask your question, please press *3.

[00:01:17] Joining us today, we have three esteemed guests with us. We have Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director from the National League of Cities. We’re also joined by Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., president of the National Medical Association, and finally we have Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist from the Washington Post. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Mike Watson. Mike will be our organizer and help facilitate our live calls today.

[00:01:47] AARP’s convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC. You can access their resources at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after our event tonight.

[00:02:24] Today we’re talking to experts and taking your questions on the disparate impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. To ask your question, please remember to press *3.

[00:02:36] This is a trying time for many of us, and AARP is advocating tirelessly for our members and all people age 50 and older during the pandemic. First, AARP fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will receive payments up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. They will not have to file additional paperwork in order to receive the payments. You can visit aarp.org/coronavirus to use AARP’s stimulus payment calculator to estimate the value of your payment. We’ve also fought to push for expanded unemployment insurance as well as paid sick leave and family leave for people who need to take time off to take care of themselves or their loved ones.

[00:03:22] Here in Washington, D.C. and across the country, AARP representatives are fighting for you during this public health crisis on issues ranging from virtual visitation in nursing homes, telehealth, paid leave and more.

[00:03:37] Let me just highlight a few examples for you. AARP state offices in Arizona, Missouri, Texas and West Virginia have fought to protect people from electric, gas and water disconnection and late payment fees. At a time when it’s more critical than ever to stay connected to your loved ones, many AARP state offices, including California, Connecticut, Tennessee and North Carolina are fighting to ensure that people can retain access to their telephones and broadband internet. In places like South Carolina, New Jersey, California and Wisconsin, AARP is working to ensure that residents have access to information and needed health care. AARP’s Illinois team has been named to Chicago mayor’s task force on racial inequality to stem the rise of deaths in that city. And in New York, Michigan and Massachusetts, we’re calling for more racial and ethnic data collection, outreach and testing in communities of color and seeking commitments from leaders to address the underlying issues of hunger, health, access, transportation and more.

[00:04:46] These are important issues that communities are facing, and AARP staff and volunteers are proud to be fighting on them.

[00:04:53] And speaking of volunteers, this week is also National Volunteer Week. So I want to recognize the incredible contribution of AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country who make their voices heard through phone calls, emails and much, much more. Thank you so much for all your service.

[00:05:14] Now let me formally welcome our distinguished guests. Again, first, we have Clarence E. Anthony, who is the CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, the voice of American cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. Clarence began his career in public service as the mayor of South Bay, Florida, for 24 years and under his leadership, NLC, the National League of Cities has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to public safety, infrastructure, transportation and sustainability.

[00:05:53] Next, we have Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks, who is the president of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Brooks is the medical director and past chief of pediatric and adolescent medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles, California. He’s also the medical director for L.A. Care Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest Medicaid managed-care plans.

[00:06:24] Finally, we have Michelle Singletary, who is the first personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, where she writes the nationally syndicated, award-winning column The Color of Money. She’s written three personal finance books and was the personal finance expert for The Revolution, a daytime program on ABC. And for two years, Michelle was the host of her own national television program, Singletary Says, on TV One. Thank you all so much for joining us today.

[00:06:59] All right, let’s get started with our discussion. As a quick reminder for our listeners, please ask your questions by pressing *3.

[00:07:07] Clarence, I’m going to turn to you first, and I’m going to jump right into it. So how are local governments responding to the pandemic, and as they respond, how are they addressing this very troubling data and information we’re hearing about African Americans and Hispanics seem disproportionately affected by the coronavirus?

[00:07:28]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah, Jean, thank you all for inviting the National League of Cities to be a part of this important conversation. And, as we know, the local leaders, the mayors, the council members are on the front line every day trying to continue to lead their communities through this unprecedented virus that we are experiencing. With over 800,000 cases and 45,000 deaths, local leaders have to step up and lead. You know, they are partnering with their health care providers. They are providing food to communities that don’t have access to food. They’re also working with their local businesses to be able to help them plan to get back to what we will never see as normal.

[00:08:21] But one of the things, though, about this subject that we’re going to talk about is that local leaders really recognize the disparity that we have in regards to this COVID-19, and we must ask ourselves the question, you know, why is this data not being, wasn’t being collected before? And what does it really reveal? It revealed something that we’ve always known in America, and that is, we knew that race was still a strong predictor of one’s success in our country, from infant mortality to life expectancy and what this virus has done, it’s identified that we have system failures as it relates to this crisis. And mayors, council members and all local elected officials must demand at the state level, as well as the federal working with CDC, that we collect this data, not just to have the data, but how do we address the issue of the historical system of loss that we’ve had in African American communities’ health, income, wealth, access to government resources.

[00:09:41] So this is going to be a difficult challenge, but I know, I can tell you, that Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago recognizes that 32percent of the population is African American and 72 percent have been tested to have the virus. And that is, that is horrible. And we also know in Louisiana, black people represent 32percent of the state’s population; however, they account for 59percent of those cases that have been tested positive.

[00:10:17] So local leaders recognize this, but we need a federal partner. We need state data, disaggregated in a way that we can now turn back and come up with solutions to deal with this historical issue that America has not addressed in the past.

[00:10:37]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you for that, Clarence. I think it is important first and foremost, as you say, to collect the information and, if anybody can do it, the local leaders can with their action bias. So thank you for that.

[00:10:49] I’d like to turn to Dr. Brooks. We just heard Clarence talk about the data showing that people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, cited information specifically around Chicago, Louisiana. Why is this the case? And what can we do differently to address this problem?

[00:11:07]Oliver Tate Brooks:  All right, and a good evening to all, and I appreciate AARP hosting this discussion on disparities and the impact of coronavirus. So I represent the African American physicians, which the NMA represents, but the NMA also represents the African American community, and this is a critical issue. Latinos also are found in these numbers, sort of these disparities. My primary statements will relate to the African American community, but the Latino population is also suffering.

[00:11:44] So why is this happening? So again, national data showing two or 2½ times the rate of hospitalizations and death; and we disaggregate it, but I think it’s also good to look at it on an aggregate level. So generally, overall, we’re seeing two to 2½ times the rate of hospitalizations and deaths by COVID from African Americans.

[00:12:08] So basically the way I look at it, it is a toxic mixture of three primary things that we see. Okay. The minorities have, we have more of what are called comorbidities. We come into this sicker. Now note these three things all intertwine, and there’s a thread that goes through all of them, that connects them. So, as it relates to that, we are seeing that COVID-19 causes, has higher impact on those with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, lung disease. African Americans have twice the incidence of diabetes, 20percent more hypertension, 30 percent more likely to be obese. So that’s there. So that puts us right in the mix for having worse outcomes.

[00:13:03] Next is social determinants of health. Basically, those are economic stability, physical environment, education, food community or food security, social content, and health care systems. So a few brief examples: We are more likely to live in housing where you cannot separate. It’s six people in a two-bedroom house; that’s going to be a problem. You have, and it will be spoken on by Ms. Singletary, but our wealth is one-tenth that of the white population. So you have the social determinants of health, which is a significant issue, and then we tend to be uninsured, twice as likely to be uninsured. There is a study that shows, tell me a zip code, and I will tell you your life expectancy. So that’s out there.

[00:14:00] And then the third mixture, of comorbidities and social determinants of , is implicit bias. So we just call it what it is. It’s racism. It’s just, there has been a history of racism in our country. And just to describe it, I’m just going to give a story that was presented in the Detroit Free Press about a week ago, I think it was on the 19th or something. A gentleman named Gary Fowler went to three different hospitals, he had symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, cough. Could not get tested, did not get admitted. Went home, died in his easy chair.

[00:14:37] Okay, the day after they took his body to the mortuary, his wife went to the hospital, and they would not test her. Someone came in, said, “I ate some bad sushi, and my stomach is upset.’ They took her back and treated her as if she had coronavirus.

[00:14:56] So there’s a bias that we have to address that’s going on in this country. And there are a number of things that we can do. And primarily, we need to be very scrupulous about prevention; wash your hands, cover your cough. Have to advocate for ourselves. Okay, if your blood pressure is high, get it under control. If your diabetes is out of control, take your medications. And we need to just have a clear understanding, we need better testing, which was mentioned, and there are lots of other things we can do. We can discuss those as we move forward.

[00:15:30]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much. Thank you for highlighting that so clearly in terms of the three factors— Michelle, let me turn to you. As much as we just talked about coronavirus being a health crisis, we know that this is quickly impacting our pocketbook, too. How has the economic fallout of the pandemic affected different areas of the economy and are people of color also being hit harder?

[00:15:52]Michelle Singletary:  Well, thanks again for having me as well. I think this is a great forum and conversation so far. I think Dr. Brooks hit it on the nail. You know, we were already behind—and I say “we” because I’m an African American—we’re already behind in so many areas economically, and much of it, but not a fault of our own, the legacy of racism. We like to think that if we have overcome, and we have a lot of things, but there’s still a lot of discrimination that has resulted in housing crisis for African Americans; we’re underemployed. Our pay is still not equal. The net worth—and the net worth is tied to housing because we have homes, but in our neighborhoods, because they’re redlined, they don’t have the same value and appreciation. My home in a different neighborhood would probably be worth twice what it’s worth in my own community.

[00:16:48] We’re more in it right now with the virus, many people can work from home except for African Americans because the type of jobs they have don’t, don’t allow for that. And so, I mean, there’s this old saying that went, “When the country got a cold, we got a flu.” Well, my goodness, we have already had a pandemic before there was an official pandemic. And that’s really tragic because we will come out of this, but I’m afraid that African Americans will be further behind because this crisis, this economic crisis is so deep.

[00:17:22]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. I think, again, and calling attention to this is one of the things that we want to do to raise the voice and also bring some more attention to it. So thank you so much, Michelle.

[00:17:34] Dr. Brooks, I think Michelle just mentioned this whole issue of, of people having to leave their home, particularly people within the communities of color have to leave their house in order to work. And there’s more, I think. There are, as Michelle mentioned, people within the communities of color having to leave their house rather than teleworking. What advice do you have and preventative measures especially if there’s, again, a multigenerational home? If you have grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren, or living in multigenerational homes, how can people stay safe even if they’re leaving their house? What can they do?

[00:18:16]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Right. So, I think that’s a great question. It’s a difficult question. And there is actually no clear guidance. So this is just an amalgam of information that I would have to think about to give an answer. So what would I say? I’d say first of all, as best they could, if they came back home, they could self-isolate. Now that’s kind of impractical. I mean you live there; the other people live there. So that would be ideal. Be in another room altogether.

[00:18:46] But that’s not going to happen. So what I, what I would do is first of all, the person that needs to focus is the person who’s going out, that’s really important. So if you’re going out, you would really be scrupulous about infection control; wear a mask 100 percent of the time that you’re around people. Wash your hands more often, for example; that when you’re out, keep that physical distance, that six foot, even with the mask. Just remember masks protect other people from you. It doesn’t protect you from them, the general masks that we wear. I would say if you can cover your clothing; a jacket, a gown, something so your clothing is protected.

[00:19:34] Now you, you’ve come out, you’re coming back home. After you leave work, after you leave work, wash your hands when you get in the car or however you leave. ’Cause you want the connection from work over. That’s what I would say. And then, when you come home, take off that jacket or whatever you have, leave it outside. Don’t bring it in the house. And I would say at home, be very clear, wipe down those counters, cover your cough, and I’d also say for grandparents, grandchildren just don’t be as huggy and lovey. Give some virtual hugs, you know, just try to just practice what you feel is good hygiene. And one other thing I would ask, would suggest is for children, clean their toys, clean their phones, clean their electronic devices, and then people should not share utensils or drink after each other. So those are just some of some of the questions, some of the ways that I would answer that question.

[00:20:37]Jean Setzfand:  Really good practical advice. I think I’ve heard a lot of people talk about physical distance in addition to social distancing, and I think you’re reminding us a lot of that as well. And since you mentioned the handwashing, I’ve also read or seen guidance around gloves. What do you think about that? Does that help at all in terms of wearing gloves, particularly at work?

[00:20:57]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So I have mixed feelings about gloves. I think gloves serve a purpose. For example, I use gloves when I go out and get gas because I can get the gas, I can whatever I have to do with my credit card, then take the gloves off and throw them away. The problem with gloves, I think people get a false sense of security. So they have on gloves, they’re at work, they’re on keyboard. They go somewhere to lunch, and they’re in the lunchroom, then they come back, still have the gloves. And they touch their face or something. You get this feeling that with gloves, your hands are pure or something, but remember, everything that a glove touches is the same as your hand touches, and people don’t tend to wash their gloves. So I would say that if you really are comfortable in knowing how to use gloves and understand that everything you touch is on that glove, then, yes, but in general, I’m more in favor of frequent handwashing and then cleaning down surfaces.

[00:21:54]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Very clear guidance. Thank you so much for that, Dr. Brooks. All right, now I think now it’s time to take your questions. We have a lot of questions rolling in. So let me remind folks that if you want to ask a question, please press *3 to talk to Dr. Brooks, Clarence Anthony and Michelle Singletary. Again, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who’s going to take your question and put you in the queue.

[00:22:22] Let me now reintroduce my AARP colleague Mike Watson, who’s going to facilitate our calls. Welcome, Mike.

[00:22:29]Mike Watson:  Thanks, Jean. I’m happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:22:32]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. All right, Mike. I think you’ve probably queued up a couple of calls for us. Who’s online for us right now?

[00:22:40]Mike Watson:  Yes, we have Sonia from New York.

[00:22:43]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Sonia, what’s your question for us?

[00:22:46]Sonia:  Uh, my question is that I’m a senior. I live in a small town in an independent living community, yet the town supervisor, even though they sent out information, aren’t really going around to the different places where seniors live, because they don’t have computers or cellphones, we are really not apt to find out what’s going on and how we can be helped. The pantries are getting low and not everybody has money to go to the supermarket.

[00:23:19]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thanks so much for your question, Sonia. I think this is a question, I’m going to address to, I’m going to ask Clarence. There’s different types of communities across the country and it sounds like Sonia lives in a smaller, more rural community. Any thoughts on how leaders within smaller communities are addressing this issue?

[00:23:39]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah. And, Sonia, thank you for that call. And there, initially the hot spots in America, well, it’s considered the larger urban communities, but what we’re seeing is that it is slower to reach rural communities, but the impact is growing faster and faster in those rural communities, especially in the senior population. And what we’re seeing is, is unique because the challenge is like threefold. First, the lack of transportation options. They’ve closed down some of the transportation modes that would bring people into communities or get them around their community and therefore those that really need the access to health care, they can’t get it.

[00:24:32] The second thing is that, you know, seniors as well as vulnerable populations and black communities specifically, they talk about driving up, just common-sense things. And local leaders are now raising their voice around trying to make sure these transportation modes are there. The access to health care is a big, big problem. And what is starting to happen there is mayors and councilmembers are using transportation modes or bringing access to those citizens by working with their county and state level to go to those facilities to get people out and to get them into a health system that would help them.

[00:25:21] And third, I think Sonia was right. Broadband, 100 percent is a problem for rural communities. You know, especially, again, African American communities and poor vulnerable communities. That is the last place in Washington, D.C., and Chicago and other large cities that they go into the black community to have 5G and 4G. Rural communities are even further behind, and being a former mayor of a rural city, I can tell you that those health care factors and the life expectancy of people of color, as well as those that are in rural communities like that, is a lot lower than those that are in more dense communities.

[00:26:13] So there is a recognition by the local government, and we’re fighting hard to try to get money to those rural communities.

[00:26:22]Jean Setzfand:  That’s terrific. I know your organization’s been fighting hard to give access, greater access to smaller communities, so thank you for that advocacy. All right, Mike, who else do we have online? Who’s the next caller?

[00:26:37]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean, our next caller is going to be Pauline from Alabama.

[00:26:41]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Pauline. What’s your question for us?

[00:26:44]Pauline:  Good evening and thank you for allowing me to participate. My question is, I have a friend that is 50 plus years old, retired, and she receives Medicare benefits. And she filed for her stimulus package, and she said they told her that she doesn’t qualify. She’s also a caregiver for her mom and a lot of her money, her mother doesn’t have much finances coming in, so she uses mostly her mother’s money for her mother. So what does she do?

[00:27:15]Jean Setzfand:  Good question, Pauline. Regarding the economic stimulus, Michelle, can I ask for your help on that question?

[00:27:22]Michelle Singletary:  Yeah. I’m not sure why she, I think she might be getting some misinformation because the stimulus package is based on your adjusted gross income. So unless this caregiver is, as an individual, is making more than adjusted gross income of more than $75,000, she absolutely does qualify for the stimulus money of $1,200. I think there’s been some confusion about how you collect it. So maybe that’s what it is. And so if you’re—well, she wouldn’t be on Social Security—so if you don’t file a tax return, or you’re not required because you don’t make enough, you do have to use a tool on irs.gov to put in your information so they know that you’re there, so that you can get your payment. Otherwise, if you filed a 2018 or 2019 return, and you meet those income levels, it’s $75,000 or less for individual and a hundred, and double that for couples, she would get the money. So I think there’s probably been some misinformation. I’m pretty sure that her friend does qualify for the stimulus money.

[00:28:28]Jean Setzfand:  That’s really helpful. And then you also mentioned going to irs.gov. Is there a particular place on irs.gov Pauline should check out?

[00:28:37]Michelle Singletary:  Yeah, go, when you go to the home page, and be very careful when you type it in because we don’t want them sending you to some wrong places, so it’s irs.gov. On the home page, it’ll say "non-filer," if you don’t normally file a tax return. If you filed a return, and you want your money direct-deposited, you would use the “get my payment” tool. But again, if for federal, maybe she’s not tech savvy, as long as you have a return from the IRS for either those two years, 2018, 2019, you will get your money, but it will be sent through a check.

[00:29:15]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. Very clear. Appreciate that, Michelle. All right. Mike, who else do we have on the phone tonight?

[00:29:24]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Beatrice from Missouri.

[00:29:28]Jean Setzfand:  Beatrice, hi. What’s your question for us?

[00:29:31]Beatrice:  Good evening. My question is this; per the media, African Americans comprise the largest percentage of deaths in the U.S. from the COVID-19 virus. Taking under consideration the population, the percentage of population in the United States by Caucasian Americans and African Americans, am I to believe that more African Americans with underlying chronic health conditions exist in the United States than whites?

[00:30:05]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that question, Beatrice. Dr. Brooks, I think you covered this before in terms of the statistics and the underlying, sort of health profile across the U.S. Can you refresh our memories with that again, to address Beatrice’s question?

[00:30:21]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So certainly, and thank you, Beatrice, for asking the question. In percentages, we have, African Americans have higher rates of hypertension, which is the number one link to having an adverse outcome; 20 percent more diabetes, twice, 2.2 times as common among African Americans as the white population; obesity, 30 percent as common. And, but I wanted to, there’s one other thing, too, Beatrice, the studies are also showing that if you get your conditions under control, you’re less likely to have a problem with it. So again, I just want to emphasize, so to answer your question, yes, it’s just in raw numbers there may not be more deaths, but as relates to percentages it’s a much higher level among the African American population, because, yes, we just have those conditions for the reasons that I delineated. And I appreciate the surgeon general putting a spotlight on this issue with disparities.

[00:31:27]Clarence Anthony:  Jean, can I add to that? If you don’t mind? This is Clarence.

[00:31:30]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:31:31]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah. I was also going to add to that, that also comes with some systemic practices that America has had. You know, the siting of oil refineries, waste facilities; some of that has caused us to have some of the breathing problems that we’ve had in America because of that. The diabetes, we have food deserts in the African American communities where we don’t have the quality vegetables, that we have the markets and the stores there that sells poor quality food. And so you go where it is in your neighborhood. And thirdly, it gets back to health care and access to health care. Being able to access that health care in a timely manner is very difficult and the cost associated. So yeah, it is true. But some of that has been systemic practices of America. And I think that, you know, Michelle talked about that a little bit in terms of redlining in housing. So, you know, some of this is historical in our system.

[00:32:47]Jean Setzfand:  Great, so the pandemic is also sort of raising some underlying systemic issues within our communities that we have to resolve. And going back to Dr. Brooks, and the point around getting the health conditions under control: Given the circumstance right now with either doctors and hospitals filled with more cases and likely more instances of contamination, any guidance on our listeners tonight in terms of what to do, leveraging potentially telehealth or how, any guidance on that in terms of seeking safe routes to get access to health care right now?

[00:33:32]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Right. That’s the next, that’s an excellent question, and we’re dealing with that on a daily basis. So you mentioned telehealth. Telehealth is very, very important at this point in time. A lot of information that you may need in terms of your health you can get through telehealth communication. And even look at blood pressure, so for example, in L.A., blood pressure, automated blood pressure cuffs are covered by Medicaid. So theoretically, let’s say it’s not covered, go spend the $30 it costs to go buy them and then measure your own blood pressure. A lot of people that have diabetes, they measure their blood glucose levels. So you can do a lot to help yourself. Right now, a lot of places are not having nonessential visits, so you bring up a very good point regarding that. So you don’t have to be in the doctor’s office to get yourself healthy.

[00:34:35]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that guidance. All right, let’s turn back to the phone lines. Mike, who do we have on the phone?

[00:34:42]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Pam from New York.

[00:34:46]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Pam, what’s your question for us?

[00:34:47]Pam:  Hi, my question is about the Family Leave Act. I have it through my work for my mom for on days that she’s not doing well. She’s 79 years old, and I had put in my days here from March 13th on, but they’re telling me that the state or whoever hasn’t approved that Family Leave can pay people for taking care of their parents and not working through this coronavirus.

[00:35:16]Jean Setzfand:  Right. Well, thank you for that question and thank you for taking care of your mom. That’s most important. Michelle, can I turn to you for that question? Any guidance on the Family Leave Act?

[00:35:28]Michelle Singletary:  Well, I’m wondering if she means the provision of the CARES Act where if you are unemployed, there’s extended benefits even if your hours are reduced, but I’m not sure why she would not be approved under the Family Leave Act. Dr. Brooks or Anthony, would you know more about that? I don’t, I’m afraid I don’t have the answer for her.

[00:35:54]Oliver Tate Brooks:  I really can’t shine any light on that. I’m sorry.

[00:35:59]Jean Setzfand:  No, that’s quite all right. Great. Well, thank you for that, and I think, Michelle, I think you’re giving good guidance to check two places, right? I think both employer and if there’s some access to the expanded unemployment benefits, I think that’s also another place to look.

[00:36:15]Michelle Singletary:  Yeah, right. I think, I mean you would be checking with the employer for the approved leave, and then if she was trying to access the unemployment part of the CARES Act where they extended it for people who had to leave their job to take care of someone as a part of this pandemic than they were supposed to get extended benefits. Now, in many states, that’s not happening because the systems are just overwhelmed, and they can’t get to people.

[00:36:44]Jean Setzfand:  Right. So that’s also another good reminder to be persistent as well. So thank you for that. All right, Mike, let’s go back to the phone line. Who is our next caller?

[00:36:54]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually going to be from YouTube. Ronell from YouTube asks, “What do you know if people, if you know, a person who has been walking around exposed to COVID-19, possibly infecting other people and refusing to get tested?”

[00:37:11]Jean Setzfand:  All right. That’s a, somewhat of a troubling question. Let me start with Dr. Brooks. So if you know somebody who’s probably, knows that somebody else has been exposed to COVID-19, and may be asymptomatic or symptomatic, walking around but refuses to get testing, what’s your guidance on that front?

[00:37:33]Oliver Tate Brooks:  That’s a good question, it’s an interesting question. So what I would recommend, and that does, that bothers me, because theoretically, for example, if someone has tuberculosis, we can actually, we can quarantine them, we can isolate them, the Department of Public Health has that authority. What I would do is I would call your local or county public health department and report, I would, I mean again, it’s interesting, it’s like being a private investigator. I would get as much information as I could, specifically the person’s name and date of birth if you could, and then I would report them. I would say, this is what I am observing, because you can’t as an individual act on that, but there may be provisions under your state or local authority that would allow them to, I will say, investigate this person. That’s what I would recommend.

[00:38:30]Michelle Singletary:  Can I get add one quick thing? This is Michelle. I think we all need to be very careful. I mean, I think Dr. Brooks is right, but I think we need to be careful because we’re all very paranoid right now and many of us think we have it, and we’re not sure, and quite frankly, despite the, what the administration is saying, not everybody can get a test who wants a test. So we’re not even sure this person is not getting it because they just can’t. You know, my daughter has asthma, and she had a cold when she came home from college, so obviously we were very concerned. And when she called and the doctor asked her a litany of tests, and they were like, well, no, you can’t get a test. Just wait and see what happens. As it turns out, it was just a cold, she didn’t get any high fevers.

[00:39:16] So, and then there are people who want to know if someone in their building has it. Should the, you know, the apartment complex inform the other residents? You know, there are privacy laws, there are HIPAA reports, Dr. Brooks knows much more about this, but we can’t go around, you know, making people tell us what they have and if they have it or not. I think, as an individual, we need to make sure we take the precautions that Dr. Brooks mentioned so that we don’t catch it, but we don’t want to get into a state where, you know, somebody calls.—I mean I was on a, I don’t know where I was on a plane or something, and somebody coughed and everybody sort of just stopped and like panicked, you know? I mean, it was like, oh, they coughed! And I, I mean I have allergies, my husband has allergies, and I find myself saying, no, no, no, he has allergies, he has allergies.

[00:40:01] So just, you know, let’s just take a pause and recognize that people have medical privacy as well. You can’t make someone take a test, but you certainly should practice and encourage people, but recognize that even if someone thinks they have it, they may not necessarily be able to be tested right now.

[00:40:18]Jean Setzfand:  That’s a really good point. And I’m actually going to go back to Dr. Brooks on that, too. What guidance do you have for us right now because there may be some limitations on those testing facilities and getting access to a test.

[00:40:31]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So two things for us; I do appreciate Ms. Singletary’s statement. Our presumption from the question was this person was overtly like spreading, like going around coughing with no mask or something like that. And I guess from where, from my perspective, at least in California, you have to wear a mask just to even go out. So that was my mindset, that theoretically you’re seeing somebody walking around that by law is to be masked, and they’re not masked.

[00:41:00] So, I do, therefore, appreciate Michelle’s comments. So testing is real tricky. It varies from locale to locale. Some places are testing everyone, some places are limiting it to, if you have, there’s particular symptoms. So, and what she stated also is true. You may want to get tested and can’t get tested because you didn’t pass the screening criteria. So what’s going to happen over the next weeks and months is there’s going to be more and more testing. So there’s no clear answer to your question because it’s very variable. I would submit that if you are symptomatic, and right now primarily we’re talking about fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, in some places GI symptoms are also part of it. If you screen positive, you should be getting tested. But again, the testing criteria are being more and more relaxed. Some areas, if you’re a health care worker you can get tested, in some areas if you’re 60 or 65 and older, you can get tested without any other criteria.

[00:42:08] So I would say look to your local area to see exactly how testing is going, and again, I’d say look to your local health department, and not just state health department.

[00:42:21]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. That’s very helpful. Let me remind folks that if you do have a question to please again, press *3 to be able to access one of our staff members to get your question in the queue.

[00:42:36] Before we go back to your questions, I just wanted to highlight a service that AARP has. Sometimes hearing a friendly voice can help during this challenging time. AARP Community Connections is a toll-free service for adults 18 and older. We have trained volunteers standing by to provide a friendly call or just to say hello. If you’d like to speak to someone Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Eastern time, call 888-281-0145. They’ll leave your information with us, and a volunteer will call you back. And if you prefer, we can set up a recurring call; for example, Wednesdays at 2 o’clock just for a quick check-in. Again, this is a free service for all adults, regardless of membership. We do have some bilingual capabilities as well, including Spanish, and that number again is 888-281-0145.

[00:43:32] All right, let’s turn back to our experts and learn some more from them. I’m going to turn to Clarence. We talked a little bit about this already in terms of, quote unquote hot spots that are most affected by the coronavirus. We’re seeing that mostly in the densely populated parts of the country. We talked a little bit about this with the previous caller, too, but because we see that smaller communities and rural areas are feeling the effects as well. How are different types of communities feeling the impact? How have they responded? Clarence, you told us a little bit about this before, tell us a little bit more about what National League of Cities is doing on this front.

[00:44:14]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah. That’s a good question. Again, I talked a little bit about the perspective on the news. You see so many large cities in the news and getting resources from the federal government directly. And in the past three bills, especially the CARES Act, if you were a city with a population of 500,000 or higher, you got direct funding from the local government, from the federal government. And if you were not, you had to basically go and beg the federal government or the state government for money. And that’s disappointing in that a lot of the impact, again, it’s moving slowly, but it’s going into these rural communities. The Oklahoma, the Mississippi, the Alabama, you’re seeing it tick up in North Carolina and South Carolina.

[00:45:10] And what we’re doing is helping those elected officials to be able to advocate, to try to get money directly from the federal government, one, but secondly, advocating to get testing for their citizens and residents in those communities. We also saw where some communities, you know, Albany, Georgia, for example, as one of the highest per capita of their population tested high for COVID-19, and it was because some of the practices were still occurring in some of these rural communities. They were still having church services, funeral services, and so, we are advocating and pushing and giving tools to our leaders to help them to first educate and get services to those communities. And if we don’t focus on that population and get the resources down, America really is going to have a hard time rebounding economically. And so we’re focused on that as we are focused on the larger community.

[00:46:21]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. I think there’s a real tension there. And as I think we’re hearing more and more in the news about restarting again in some communities, I’m sure, you know, that’s a really hard decision to make. Anything that you’re hearing across the country from your members about that topic of, again, restarting in certain communities?

[00:46:45]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah. We are in constant contact, our mayors and councilmembers with the federal government and the state government. And our leaders are very concerned. They’re very concerned that we are in a rush to open back up for business, when we are not prepared. We are concerned that we may see, and Dr. Brooks may know better on this, we may see another bump, a major bump in the fall if we go back too quickly. So what local leaders are hoping is that we can get our governors to understand that we should not sacrifice the lives of people just to open back up.

[00:47:33] The governor in Georgia is an example. Our leaders in Georgia feel that he’s irresponsible, insensitive and only focused on trying to open up businesses, so that the economy would bounce back, for political reasons, you know, and he’s talking about opening up beauty parlors and barbershops and places like that, massage parlors. And one great leader, I will tell you, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose family was in the beauty supply business that she was not going to act by allowing those facilities to open back up. But what she also did, she took a, made a step forward. She created a fund for the beauty supply industry so that she can get monies to them so that if they don’t open, they will have money to help them with their bills. You know, that’s what local leadership is all about. We don’t need to open up at this point. We don’t need to rush because if we do, we will see thousands and thousands more lives taken in our communities, especially the African American community.

[00:48:55]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you so much for that, Clarence, what a great example there. And speaking of sort of economics, Michelle, let me turn to sort of this whole issue of personal finance. What advice do you have for people who are in an economic crisis right now? They’re probably thinking about their immediate balance sheets versus sort of that longer term impact in those decisions and the tension between those. What tips and pointers do you have for them?

[00:49:24]Michelle Singletary:  So I’d like to talk about it, and Dr. Brooks, forgive me if I don’t use this the right way, but I try to encourage people to triage their bills, like an emergency room with triage patients. So if you’ve ever had to go to the emergency room and it’s full of people and not enough staff, they take the most critical patients first, and that’s fair. That makes sense. So you need to do the same thing with your bills. Pay the critical bills first. Those are your necessities; the roof over your head, food on the table, if you need to go out to work, transportation, and then let everything else go that you can let go. Right now, if you are laid off or furloughed or your income has been disrupted or maybe your spouse’s income has been disrupted, your credit card bill is not a priority. You call the lenders and say, I cannot pay this. Please give me a forbearance. And many of them, almost everybody is right now, and take that forbearance, don’t worry about your credit score right now. That’s something that you can worry about down the road. Because you need to take care of yourself, just like those doctors take care of the most critical patients first. Yeah, your, you know, your hand has been bruised, maybe you dropped a hammer on it or something, and it may be, you know, it’s a sprain, but that person who has a heart attack has to go first. So your mortgage, your rent, food, you know, insurance that you need to keep that car going in case you get in an accident, those are what you prioritize. And I know that, you know, lots of people want to be financially responsible, they want to pay all your bills, but this is a critical time, you know, when we have an extraordinary economic issue going on right now and it requires extraordinary measures.

[00:51:06] Now, if you are working and your income hasn’t been disrupted and you never built that emergency fund, now is the time to do that. It’s just like Dr. Brooks talked about taking care of yourself, so you were like living high, living above your means, taking them cruises and them vacations and stuff, you know, and now that you’re stuck in the house, use all that money that you would’ve spent going out and doing all the stuff that you shouldn’t do, build up that emergency fund because your job is not guaranteed either. I don’t care if you work for the federal government, state government or, you know, me at the Post. I’m not counting on my job to be there. This is a crazy economy we have now because of the pandemic. So save that money. Cash is king right now. So even if you are on an aggressive debt payment plan, if you have a job that you’re not sure is very secure, you want to build up your emergency fund now.

[00:51:56] Now listen, if you’re home and your finances are pretty tight, you’re good, you always were frugal and you have extra, this is the time to let go some of that money and help other folks, be it in your family, your church community, you know who needs help, who’s lost their jobs. Send them some money through PayPal or cash apps so they can buy some groceries, you know, because we are our sister’s and our brother’s keepers right now. And so those are sort of the three categories of people I talk about. And, you know, we are all in this together. And so depending on where you are on that, I need you to do those things to make sure that yourself, that you are, you know, financially secure.

[00:52:39]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that really clear guidance, Michelle, of helping yourself and helping others. That’s terrific. All right.

[00:52:45] Before we turn back to your questions, I do want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers are, unfortunately, trying to get your money and your personal information by pitching fake cures, offering bogus investments, impersonating medical professionals to collect payments, posing as global health authorities to conduct email campaigns designed to load malicious software on your device, steal passwords and other credentials. Google recently reported that they filtered more than 18 million phishing and malware emails every day from their email service. And yesterday, the Justice Department said that U.S. law enforcement agencies and website operators have taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites, including some that spoof government programs and entities. So if you can spot a scam, which we’ve just told you a lot about, you can stop a scam. So go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn how you can spot and avoid COVID-19 and other scams. You can also report scams or get help if you feel like you’ve been victimized at AARP’s Fraud Watch Network helpline, and that number is 877-908-3360. Again, that number is 877-908-3360.

[00:54:04] Wonderful. We’re going to turn back to your questions again, a time to address your questions with Dr. Brooks of the National Medical Association, Clarence Anthony of the National League of Cities, and Michelle Singletary from the Washington Post. And let me remind listeners that if you have a question, please remember to press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. And again, for more information or access to this recording and other resources and other events that we’ve had, please go to aarp.org/coronavirus.

[00:54:41] All right, let’s take more questions. Mike, who do we have on the line?

[00:54:47]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next question is going to come from Marcus in Rhode Island.

[00:54:51]Jean Setzfand:  All right, Marcus, your question for us.

[00:54:54]Marcus:  Hello, thank you to all the speakers for your comments and work on disparities. I want to frame my question. I’m thinking about the Spanish flu pandemic, you know, 1918 to ’20, and the impact, the overwhelming impact that it had in Africa and the African American community here in the United States. I want to be able to, in my advocacy, I want to be able to point to some of that historical data on how that impacted those communities economically over the long term. Do you have any suggestions for, or information about that historical data or any contemporary data that I can point to in my discussions?

[00:55:46]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that good question, Marcus. Let me begin with Dr. Brooks. So harkening back to the Spanish flu, what can we learn from that?

[00:55:55]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Well, he’s speaking of the African American communities and the African continent, and I can’t speak to that directly as an economic issue, but I can speak to it from infection control, that when there was contact tracing, when people followed who had the flu and isolated those people that they were exposed to, we found that that was what stopped, or at least diminished, the death rate from the Spanish flu. As it relates to how that affected the continent and then African Americans, I just don’t have any particular data. But infection control, what we’re doing now is learned from what they did then.

[00:56:52]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thank you for that. All right, Mike, who else do we have on the line? Who’s our next caller?

[00:56:58]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Ursula from Michigan.

[00:57:03]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Ursula. What’s your question for us?

[00:57:06]Ursula:  My question is, I’m calling for my daughter, she’s self-employed, she’s a beautician, got her own little store, and she’s been out of work since March 24th. And the question is, she tried to get unemployment benefits and was turned down. And the question now is, is she getting any stimulus from the government or not?

[00:57:32]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that question. Michelle, I’m going to turn to you for that question. Again, I think there’s a question related to access to the stimulus or potentially unemployment for somebody who’s self-employed.

[00:57:46]Michelle Singletary:  So I want to encourage her daughter to appeal the decision, the claim, because a lot of the states, because their systems are crowded and there’s lots of people, have made mistakes in denying people. So there’s an appeals process. Every state has one. Obviously, everything is overwhelmed right now, but she might as well go through that because there could be a mistake along the way. And also, with the CARES Act, the states were allowed to add nontraditional people to the unemployment insurance rolls. So it could be that this state has decided that in her area they aren’t going to give that payment, but I would definitely file an appeal.

[00:58:29] And secondly, if she is an individual and she is not claimed on someone else’s tax return, it doesn’t sound like it is, and she’s running her own business, and as an individual she made $75,000 or less, she is definitely eligible for the stimulus money, and that would be $1,200. If she has children under 17, she would be eligible for an additional $500 per eligible child. So, but she has to file a return, in either 2018 or 2019. If she has not filed a return and, you know, some, I’m not saying her daughter, but some people, you know, who work for themselves may not necessarily have been following the tax laws like they were supposed to, but she can go into the non-filer tool to put in information so that she can get a check. Right now they’re not trying to chase anybody down who has, you know, taxes, any other thing. They’re not going to snatch the money if you owe back taxes. The only reason why they will take the check is if you have back child support.

[00:59:34] So I would encourage her mostly to filing a claim, an appeals claim for the unemployment, and she would definitely be eligible. If she hasn’t filed a return, use the non-filer tool. If she did, and maybe they don’t have her direct-deposit information because she didn’t get a refund, she should use the “get my payment” tool. And if I could just add, on the Washington Post website we have “Your Money in the Pandemic” kind of page, which has a lot of FAQs, frequently asked questions, that involve the small business loan, the stimulus payment, unemployment. Every week or so we’re adding new FAQs to that, so that a lot of the questions that people can’t get through on this program, they’ll be able to find answers to that on this landing page at washingtonpost.com.

[01:00:22]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you so much for that, Michelle. I think a good, potentially good news for our caller. Not only is it an “or” situation between unemployment and the stimulus, but it could be an “and” situation. So checking out both resources will be helpful. Thank you for that. All right, Mike, who’s our next caller?

[01:00:41]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Terry from South Carolina.

[01:00:45]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Terry, what’s your question for us?

[01:00:48]Terry:  Yes, thanks for taking my call. What is neighborhood redlining and who is designing this?

[01:00:58]Jean Setzfand:  Great question, Terry. I think we mentioned this on the call earlier. Clarence, why don’t you take us through that again, the whole issue of unfortunate redlining.

[01:01:11]Clarence Anthony:  Yes. The history of city planning came, brought this to head in a way where, cities were designing parts of communities, whether it was housing and businesses. And what they did was they oftentimes created certain areas or developed certain areas that they designed housing and other programs in those communities, and those communities were sometimes the less desirable communities. And they put a population of folks in those communities.

[01:01:58] The first practice of redlining really occurred through the GI Bill, when the federal government and all of the soldiers came back, and the vets got all of these loans. And first they weren’t giving loans to African Americans. And then, they started providing those loans, and African Americans started living and moving into those communities along with whites. And then the whites started moving out, because they did not want to stay in those communities. And therefore, less investment occurred in those communities and more attention then moved to where, what we refer to in urban planning it was white flight, into those communities away from those African American residents. But what was lost was the supermarket, the car dealerships, the movie theaters. But what was placed there could have been, you know, landfills, oil refineries and facilities like that.

[01:03:14] So the history of redlining is really creating a space in cities and in areas that you located low-income people mostly. And it’s been a practice that the National League of Cities has been highlighting, because it is systemic, it’s racist and it has caused a lot of communities to be economically challenged. And I think, it’s already been said by Ms. Singletary, Michelle, that you know, housing and the investment in the house is probably your strongest investment that you will make. And the redlining has caused that not to be a place where black families can see their economics grow.

[01:04:07]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that background and context. And again, I think the pandemic is also shining a light on how devastating those systematic inequities are, also heightening the plight of, particularly, communities of color. So, thank you for giving us that background and context.

[01:04:27] Mike, let’s turn to some more calls on the phone. Who’s our next caller?

[01:04:32]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next caller is going to be Paul from Silver City.

[01:04:36]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Paul. What’s your question for us?

[01:04:38]Paul:  Well, my question , being both a physician and also a Zen priest, I’m very interested in the emotional well-being of people. I mean, I hear people talking about the physical problems and so forth, but what’s happening, what organizations are out there? What people are practicing their pro bono to sit and listen, and do we know who these organizations are, and what’s available? Because, yeah, it’s a tremendous amount of suffering that goes on, and the sale of guns is going up. I mean, I take a look at this and I say it’s very serious. So that’s my question.

[01:05:23]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much, Paul, for highlighting the mental well-being also. Dr. Brooks, let me begin with you. Any thoughts on Paul’s question there?

[01:05:35]Oliver Tate Brooks:  I think that it is excellent that he brought it up because we are affected by this on a mental, psychological, if you will, spiritual way. So, we do need to find some solace, if you will, in our lives. So, in terms of specific resources, again, your local or county, or mental health department will have resources. So you can go there. Like, for example, I know another thing that he didn’t mention is there is the concern about domestic violence in terms of someone really taking it out in the house. So there are resources in that area. I think that it’s important that he shined the light on this. That’s why I use the term physical distance instead of social distance, because you need to keep your physical distance, but you do have— don’t be socially distant. Call your friends. Call people you haven’t talked to in a long time. If you, obviously there’s no church, so there are virtual services for those who have that in terms of their faith-based practices. He’s Zen, so go inside yourself. Meditate. That calms you down. I think it is important to note, and I did, that stress is a beacon to your immune system. So if you are stressed because of this, you have a bit of emotional instability, that actually is harmful to you physically. Specific resources I cannot speak to, but I am sure they are there, and it’s something that perhaps the AARP can look at in terms of, after this call, some specific information on where to reach for something to which he refers.

[01:07:45]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thanks so much, Dr. Brooks, and although we don’t have medical staff online, I did mention earlier that AARP does have a service called AARP Community Connections. And again, it’s a toll-free service for all adults 18 and over. And we have trained volunteers standing by to provide friendly calls and just to say hello. To the point that Dr. Brooks just mentioned around physical distance versus social distance, here’s a way to actually have somebody to have a friendly, informal chat with. So, if anybody wants to take advantage of the service, we’re available to take your call Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Eastern time. The number to call is 888-281-0145. Leave your information with us and a volunteer will call you back. That number again is 888-281-0145.

[01:08:37] All right, let’s move onto our next question. Mike, who’s our next question?

[01:08:44]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually coming from YouTube. So this is Catherine from YouTube, and she said, ‘I’m worried about losing my job and my health insurance benefits. I need coverage. What is available if I lose my benefits? And is anyone working to address this?”

[01:09:00]Jean Setzfand:  Great question from Catherine. Michelle, can you help us with this? Even though it’s about health insurance, I think this person’s concerned about, again, the high numbers of unemployment we’re hearing about and possibly losing their employer coverage, an employer-based health coverage. What can Catherine do about that?

[01:09:21]Michelle Singletary:  So there are a couple of areas. So often when you lose your job-based health insurance, you can get COBRA, which is an extension of that employer health insurance. Now the downside is, it can be very expensive because you have to pay your share plus the share that your employer paid. So for a family of five, that can be, you know, a couple, you know, up to $2,000 a month. So who can afford that? Right? So, but it’s an option to keep your coverage until you can get another job.

[01:09:54] There’s also, if you lose your job and qualify, at some point you could try to apply for Medicaid, which is the health insurance, a federal and state health insurance for low-income folks. And then, finally, there’s the health exchange. We commonly refer to it as Obamacare. So if you have a disruption in your income or are low income, you may qualify for subsidies through the health exchange. And so you would definitely want to look into that as well. And on the health exchange, there are going to be different types of policies. So if you don’t have a lot of money, you might just get a basic policy until you can get another job.

[01:10:34] But this question sort of goes to this whole larger issue of our health insurance being connected to our job, and I hope, and I’m, you know, I’m a woman of faith, I’m just going to say, and I pray that this coronavirus has exposed the problems with our economy, our health insurance, our job security, and that finally we get to the point where we realize we cannot have a population where our jobs is connected to our health insurance. Which is why it just, why African Americans are so disadvantaged in here, because the jobs that they often have don’t have health insurance or don’t have good health insurance. And so, but there are avenues as COBRA, there’s Medicaid and then there’s health exchange. And that means you’re going to do a lot of homework, but it’s worth it so that you can be sure that you continue to get coverage for your family.

[01:11:27]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks so much for that, Michelle.

[01:11:28]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Can I add one thing in there.

[01:11:30]Jean Setzfand:  Please, Dr. Brooks.

[01:11:32]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So also, there’s a network of community health centers called Federally Qualified Health Centers, FQHCs, and you can get care if you are uninsured at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Generally there will be a copay. The copay is based on income, but you can also get care, and in that fashion, if you’re uninsured.

[01:11:57]Jean Setzfand:  Okay. Thank you for that resource, too. Federally Qualified, what was the “A”? What does the A stand for? I’m sorry.

[01:12:05]Oliver Tate Brooks:  FQHC, Federally Qualified Health Center.

[01:12:08]Jean Setzfand:  Oh, health centers. FQHC—Federally Qualified Health Centers. Thank you so much for that. And while we were talking about that, one of my colleagues sent over some information from the last caller related to mental health supports. For those who are interested in getting some support from the national mental health hotline, that number is 800-662-4357. Again, that number is 800-662-4357 for the national mental health hotline.

[01:12:43] All right, let’s turn to—

[01:12:44]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Quickly, Jean, also, if you go to CDC, and you click on “stress and coping,” there’s also, there are numbers there, National Disaster Distress Helpline and National Domestic Violence Hotline. So CDC is a source of information.

[01:13:01]Jean Setzfand:  That’s terrific. That’s another great resource to access, the CDC, for stress and coping. Thank you so much for that. All right, Mike, who’s on the line for our next call?

[01:13:14]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean, our next call is going to be from Felipe.

[01:13:18]Jean Setzfand:  Felipe, hello. What’s your question?

[01:13:21]Felipe:  Hi, my name is Felipe, and I’m calling in from Minnesota. I am a local elected official in Minneapolis, and I represent an area that is predominantly people of color, with the majority of our folks being black. And what I just, what we’ve realized is that folks really aren’t taking the guidance seriously around physical distancing, around wearing face masks, and so I was just curious if you all had any advice on how to be able to best communicate with communities of color on how to be able to stay healthy and take this seriously?

[01:14:06]Jean Setzfand:  Good question, Felipe. You know, a local elected official, let me begin with Clarence to see if he has any guidance from other members. And then we’ll also ask some of our other panelists as well. Clarence?

[01:14:18]Clarence Anthony:  Yes, Councilman, thank you very much and I appreciate you calling in. That is an important element that we need to address, and that’s making sure that accurate information is being provided to the African American community in Minneapolis and every community, because there has been information that has been shared that is not accurate around, that this will not impact African Americans. And we’ve seen that, that that is not a fact. A couple of things; first, local government is the most trusted level of government, and you have to use that to communicate and to make sure that information is sent directly to the African American community. And then, I think you have to look at those important figures in the black community in Minneapolis, whether it’s the ministers, whether it’s teachers, whether it’s doctors, or any other health care providers, and using social media in a way to reach those communities.

[01:15:31] I’ve also got to tell you that we’ve talked about and know that a lot of African Americans may be getting this because they are in the service industry type job; whether it is still working at Home Depot, Walmart or other stores, whether it’s still working at restaurants where they’re saying you can take out, whether it’s drivers on mobility, the Ubers, the Lyfts. So some of this is because we’re most often required, even though we don’t want to, to go to some of these jobs because this may be the only job I have, that they have. So I think gathering on a virtual call with some of those leaders, using your role as a council member to bring people together and to use some communication strategies to get the word out in simple terms, that shows the increase in the African American community. And that if you don’t take this seriously, you know, not only will you lose your life, but you can lose your entire family life.

[01:16:47]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much for that.

[01:16:51]Michelle Singletary:  Can I add one quick thing?

[01:16:53]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely.

[01:16:53]Michelle Singletary:  Because I actually think that’s such a great question, because you know, it’s a culture. I love what I think Dr. Brooks said at the beginning, like you know, I’m a hugger by nature and I belong to a huge church and we just hug every time we have stopped for prayer, we’re hugging. And when this first started, you know, I was like, okay, I’m not, I just want to do the elbow. And it was hard to get our folks to not do that, ’cause it’s just who we are. And my pastor finally said, "Okay, listen, we gotta practice these things."

[01:17:27] So I think that it’s very important, especially for communities of color, that where there’s lots of religious organizations and churches, to team up with pastors and leaders in the church to get the message to their folks. Because let’s be honest, a lot of our communities don’t trust the government, for legitimate reasons. And so if you want to get the message to the people you have to go through folks that they trust. And I mean like our doctors, our lawyers, our religious leaders, our pastors. You have to team up with them and give them the right information that they can give it to the folks. Because I personally think that it wasn’t until my pastor said, “All right, y’all, stop hugging,” that people stopped hugging.

[01:18:15]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thanks so much for that, Michelle. And I think, I think hearing from a lot of local leaders and multiple points, sort of consistent messages is important. So I think, definitely in terms of what we see in terms of surveys, local leaders by far are probably the most trusted among selected, so I wanted to second that with Clarence. Did I hear another voice who wanted to add some more guidance on this point?

[01:18:40]Oliver Tate Brooks:  This is Dr. Brooks. I just have to, because again, that is such a key issue. In the beginning there were rumors that African Americans couldn’t get COVID because melanin or whatever the rumor was, that was one of those. I was just on a call of experts, African American experts, and one of them said they had a flyer that was given to them that said, “COVID-19 is a hoax. Don’t get the vaccine.” So there’s also, it’s out there. There are messages, anti-self-preservation. So I think that what was stated that the message has to come from African Americans to African Americans in a culturally appropriate fashion that this thing is real, and to me it’s even doubly real, ‘cause we’re dying, not only is it real, we’re dying at higher rates. So the messaging has to be there. I believe strongly in it coming from the faith-based organizations, but also from black physicians. So the NMA stands strongly in support of getting the message right.

[01:19:49]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you all for that sort of clear guidance that’s culturally based from multiple leaders’ consistent messages out there. Thank you so much. All right, we’re getting close to the end, but let’s try and get some more calls on the line. Mike, who else do we have on the call?

[01:20:08]Mike Watson:  Hi, Jean. Our next question is actually Michelle from Facebook who asks, “How do we address access to food for seniors who are living in community food deserts?”

[01:20:19]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Great question. Clarence, I’m going to turn to you. You mentioned this a few times. How can we help this viewer from Facebook access food in a food desert?

[01:20:31]Clarence Anthony:  Yeah, I do think that’s a really good question, and it’s, it’s been difficult for local elected officials to be able to pull those resources together. But one of the things that we’re seeing is, even when it relates to kids, local leaders are providing three meals a day having people, again, this is transportation challenge, but having a facility there where you can come by and to be able to pick up the food. Local leaders are working with churches to be able to deliver food to seniors during this time. And you’re also finding a number of the fraternities and sororities in African American communities joining with mayors and councilmembers to be able to help get, you know, the food and resources that is needed, for the seniors in their communities.

[01:21:35] And I can tell you another piece about this. I am probably on the phone, especially now with all of these virtual calls, talking to leaders, and one of the things I need to say that, you know, came to mind while you guys were talking about who sends the message. I gotta tell you, mayors, councilmembers, elected officials are human. And we’re also seeing them take risks. We’re seeing them losing sleep at night because of what is going on in their communities.

[01:22:09] And the senior population is one of those challenging areas that they are working hard to be able to provide the service. So I’m hopeful that you will reach out to your local leaders, the trusted level, and say, if you’re not getting it, what can you do for me to get this service to seniors?

[01:22:35]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. Thank you. Thank you for that guidance and also reassuring message that local leaders are working on behalf of vulnerable populations and the older population as well.

[01:22:46] We are coming to the end of our event. And I’d love to kind of close out with some final thoughts from our distinguished panelists. Let me begin with Michelle. Michelle, any final thoughts and recommendations for our listeners tonight, our AARP members? What should they understand most from the conversation today?

[01:23:07]Michelle Singletary:  So I think, we’ve been talking about a lot of the issues and problems, but I actually like to lay out hope, right? I truly believe that this too shall pass, and that we, if you are suffering from this, you’ve lost your job, or maybe your caretaker is having some issues, that you try to get the help that you need. I recognize that there are a lot of us out there trying to help you. Most importantly, make sure you go to really good sources to get your information. Don’t listen to someone who calls you on the phone or that text message chain. You know, go to AARP, go to washingtonpost.com. We are working 14-hour days, and I’m not kidding you, to try to get you the right information to help you. And there’s a lot of stuff going on. There’s a lot of stuff not working, but there is lots of people out here, doctors and lawyers and the politicians, most of them, who are really trying to help you. Be patient, but know that at the end, this will end someday, and when it does, even if you have some, you know, financial—maybe you do lose your home, maybe you’ve got to move in with someone—at the end of that, there are those of us who are willing and able to help you reestablish yourself financially. We got through the housing crisis, and if you’re African American, we got through some stuff, you know, way back from slavery. We will get through this, but you have to be smart about it and reach out and get the help that you need.

[01:24:42]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much, Michelle. Dr. Brooks. Any final thoughts for our listeners tonight?

[01:24:49]Oliver Tate Brooks:  First, I would co-sign everything that Michelle just said, and she laid it out so cogently. She said one part though, that was fast, that I’m going to go back to. Be patient. I am going to work every day, so I’m one of those essential workers that has to be out. I am seeing more traffic on the highways now. Nothing has changed in California. There’s not been a single adjustment into shelter at home and everything else, cover your coughs, essential workers only. But I feel people loosening up a little bit. So I would tell, especially to, let’s say the AARP population, one of the, the number one risk factor is age. That’s the one that we can’t control. So I would say, be patient. Don’t, you know, I love my granddaughter. I’ll just give her, to see her that one time. No, keep up your guard. This virus is sneaky. You have, it’s called a “novel” coronavirus, because it’s novel. We haven’t figured out how it is working. So I would say just be patient, keep up your guard, but in the end, actually exactly what Michelle said, this too shall pass.

[01:26:09]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you, Dr. Brooks. Clarence, we started with you, I’m going to end with you with the final word. What final thoughts do you have for our listeners tonight?

[01:26:19]Clarence Anthony:  Thank you for having me. I’m going to amen what Michelle said. I was so inspired by what she said and that it really lifted my spirit. One of the things I’ll say is one thing that is certain, that we’re in an uncertain time. But you know what, we will, as Michelle indicated, we will get through this.

[01:26:42] Will we be the same? I don’t ever think we will ever be the same. I am similar. I’m a hugger. I’m a person that walks up to people and greet them with a smile and a hug. And I’ve had to even change that approach with friends and distant relatives. I think that as we look to the future, we’ve got to look at cities, we’ve got to look at the local communities. And we have to work to get the resources and direct funding to our members, to our cities, because that’s where the small businesses are. That’s where the senior services are. That’s where mental health resources are. That’s where the jobs are. And we have to make sure that people of color, looking at the data, get the resources they need to recover. Because if we don’t get the resources and the health care that we need, this will continue to spread in our communities, and therefore, it will continue to spread in other communities because we are working all over cities and towns and villages, no matter how large or small. And I hope that we can continue to partner with AARP to get that message out, because we are living in an uncertain time. But we will get through this, and I just pray strength and guidance for all of us as we go through this.

[01:28:07]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much. This has been such an informative discussion for me, and I know for all of our listeners. I can’t thank you all enough for your clear guidance, your wisdom, your hopeful words, patience and persistence as we gather together to fight our way through this tough time. So thank you, thank you, thank you, again, for spending your evening and late afternoon with us.

[01:28:31] And I want to thank all of you listeners, our AARP members, volunteers for participating in this discussion. And again, if you would like a call from a friendly voice, AARP’s Community Connections has trained volunteers standing by. This is, again, a free service for all adults regardless of membership, and we do, again, offer bilingual capabilities, including Spanish. Feel free to call us anytime at 888-281-0145 to be connected. Again, the time to call is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time at 888-281-0145.

[01:29:09] And AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, and we’ve been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for 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 and prevent the spread to others while taking care of yourself. All the resources we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on April 24th, that’s tomorrow. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus.

[01:29:48] We hope that you can go there and if your question wasn’t addressed today, you’ll find the latest updates as well as other information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

[01:30:00] We hope you learned something that will keep you and your loved ones healthy. Be sure to tune back in with us next Thursday. Our next tele-town hall is next Thursday, on April 30th, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a good rest of the day. This concludes our call.

[01:30:19]

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, soy Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a este importante debate sobre el coronavirus. AARP, una organización compuesta de socios, sin fines de lucro ni afiliación política trabaja para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país desde hace más de 60 años. Ante la pandemia global del coronavirus, AARP está aportando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes cuidan de ellos.

Hoy conversaremos con expertos sobre el impacto desigual del coronavirus enfocándonos en por qué las comunidades multiculturales se enfrentan a desafíos más grandes. Si ya has participado en una de nuestras teleasambleas, sabrás que es muy similar a un programa de radio de opinión y tendrás la oportunidad de hacernos preguntas en vivo. Si te gustaría hacer una pregunta sobre el impacto desigual del coronavirus, presiona *3 en tu teléfono para contactarte con un miembro del equipo de AARP. Anotaremos tu nombre, tu pregunta y te pondremos en espera para que hagas tu pregunta en vivo. Repito, si te gustaría hacer una pregunta, presiona *3.

Hola, si acaban de sumarse, yo soy Jean Setzfand de AARP y les doy la bienvenida a este importante debate sobre el impacto de la pandemia global del coronavirus. Vamos a conversar con expertos y escuchar tus preguntas en vivo. Repito, para hacer una pregunta, presiona *3.

Nos acompañan hoy tres invitados especiales, Clarence Anthony, presidente y director ejecutivo de la Liga Nacional de Ciudades, también nos acompaña El Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks, presidente de la National Medical Association, y finalmente, nos acompaña Michelle Singletary, columnista de Finanzas Personales del Washington Post. También me acompaña mi colega de AARP, Mike Watson. Mike será nuestro organizador y nos ayudará con las llamadas en vivo.

AARP convoca a esta teleasamblea para ayudarte a tener acceso a la información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien sabemos de la importancia del rol de AARP de brindar información y apoyo en relación al coronavirus, debemos considerar que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud se encuentra en los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, los CDC. Puedes acceder a estas fuentes en www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Este evento será grabado y podrás acceder a la grabación en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus, a las 24 horas de haber terminado.

Hoy vamos a conversar con expertos y escuchar tus preguntas sobre el impacto desigual de la pandemia global del coronavirus. Para hacer una pregunta, recuerda marcar *3.

Estos son tiempos difíciles para muchos de nosotros, y AARP aboga sin cansancio por nuestros socios y por todas las personas mayores de 50 años durante la pandemia. En primer lugar, AARP lucha para que aquellos adultos mayores cuya fuente principal de ingreso es el Seguro Social, reciban pagos de hasta $1,200 como parte del paquete de estímulo económico. No necesitarán hacer ningún papeleo más para poder recibir el pago. Visita www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus para utilizar la calculadora de paquete de estímulo de AARP para calcular el valor de tu pago. También hemos luchado y presionado para ampliar el seguro de desempleo, así como licencias por enfermedad y licencias familiares pagas para personas que necesitan tomarse un tiempo para cuidar de ellos mismos o de sus seres queridos.

Aquí en Washington D.C y en todo el país, los representantes de AARP están luchando por ti durante esta crisis de salud pública en temas que van desde visitas virtuales a residencias de ancianos, telesalud, licencias pagas y más. Permítanme resaltar algunos ejemplos. Las oficinas estatales de AARP en Arizona, Misuri, Texas y Virginia Occidental, han luchado para proteger a las personas de cortes de electricidad, gas y agua y de recargos por pagos atrasados. En tiempos donde es más importante que nunca seguir conectados con nuestros seres queridos, muchos oficiales estatales de AARP, incluidas California, Connecticut, Tennessee y Carolina del Norte, están luchando por garantizar que las personas puedan seguir teniendo acceso al teléfono y a internet.

En lugares como Carolina del Sur, Nueva Jersey, California, Wisconsin, AARP está trabajando para garantizar que los residentes tengan acceso a la información y la atención de salud que necesitan. El equipo de Illinois de AARP ha sido nombrado como parte del Equipo de trabajo sobre desigualdad social del alcalde de Chicago para cortar de raíz el aumento de muertes en la ciudad. En Nueva York, Míchigan y Massachusetts, estamos pidiendo mayor recopilación de datos sobre raza y etnia, más alcance y pruebas en las comunidades de color, y compromiso por parte de los líderes para abordar los problemas subyacentes del hambre, el acceso a la salud, el transporte y más.

Estos son temas importantes que las comunidades enfrentan y el personal y los voluntarios de AARP se enorgullecen de luchar por ellos. Y hablando de voluntarios, esta semana también es la Semana Nacional del Voluntariado. Quiero reconocer las increíbles contribuciones de los socios, voluntarios y adultos mayores de AARP en todo el país que se hacen escuchar por medio de llamadas, correos electrónicos, y mucho, mucho más. Muchas gracias a todos por su servicio.

Ahora démosle la bienvenida formal a nuestros invitados distinguidos. Repito, nos acompaña Clarence E. Anthony, el presidente y director ejecutivo de la Liga Nacional de Ciudades. La voz de las ciudades y los pueblos estadounidenses. Representando a más de 200 millones de personas. Clarence comenzó su carrera en la administración pública como alcalde de South Bay, Florida por 24 años y bajo su dirección, la NLC, la Liga Nacional de Ciudades, ha avanzado en políticas que amplían el control local y aportan financiación directa para programas locales relacionados a la seguridad pública, la infraestructura, el transporte, y la sustentabilidad.

Luego tenemos al Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks, presidente de la National Medical Association La organización nacional más grande y antigua que representa a los médicos Afroamericanos y a sus pacientes en Estados Unidos. Además, el Dr. Brooks es el Director Médico y exdirector de Pediatría y Medicina de Adolescentes en la Watts Healthcare Corporación en Los Ángeles, California. También es el director médico del L.A. Health Care Plan en Los Ángeles, uno de los planes de cuidado de salud de Medicaid más grandes del país.

Y por último, nos acompaña Michelle Singletary, la primera columnista de Finanzas Personales del Washington Post, donde escribe la columna galardonada de difusión nacional, The Color of Money. Ha escrito tres libros de finanzas personales y fue la experta personal de finanzas de The Revolution, un programa diurno de ABC. Y por dos años, Michelle fue la anfitriona de su propio programa de televisión nacional, Singletary Says, en TV One.

Muchas gracias a todos por acompañarnos hoy. Bien, comencemos con nuestro debate, le recordamos a nuestros oyentes, hagan sus preguntas marcando *3. Clarence, comencemos contigo y vamos a ir directo al grano. Cómo están respondiendo los Gobiernos locales a la pandemia, y al hacerlo, ¿cómo están abordando todos estos datos e información preocupante que oímos sobre los afroamericanos y los hispánicos que se ven afectados de manera desproporcionada por el coronavirus?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, Jean, muchas gracias a todos por invitar a la Liga Nacional de Ciudades a participar de esta importante conversación y, como sabemos, los líderes locales, los alcaldes, los miembros del consejo están en primera línea todos los días, intentando continuar guiando a las comunidades a través de este virus sin precedentes que estamos experimentando.

Con más de 800,000 casos y 45,000 muertes, los líderes locales tienen que dar un paso adelante y guiar. Se están asociando con sus proveedores de salud, están proporcionando alimento a las comunidades que no tienen acceso a alimento. También están trabajando con los negocios locales para ayudarlos a que puedan resurgir a lo que ya no veremos cómo normal.

Hay algo sobre este tema que vamos a discutir y es que los líderes locales reconocen realmente la desigualdad que tenemos en relación con la COVID-19. Y debemos hacernos una pregunta: ¿Por qué los datos no se recolectaron antes y qué es lo que en verdad pone esto al descubierto? Pone al descubierto algo que siempre supimos en Estados Unidos y es que sabíamos que la raza aún es un fuerte indicador del éxito de cada uno en nuestro país. Desde mortalidad infantil hasta esperanza de vida y lo que el virus ha hecho, ha identificado que tenemos fallas en el sistema en relación con esta crisis, y los alcaldes, los miembros del Congreso y todos los funcionarios locales electos deben exigir a nivel estatal, así como federal, junto con los CDC, que se recolecten estos datos. No solo para tener los datos, sino cómo podemos abordar la cuestión de los sistemas históricos de pérdida que hemos tenido en las comunidades afroamericanas. Salud, ingresos, riqueza, acceso a los recursos del Gobierno.

Este será un desafío difícil, pero puedo decirte que el alcalde Lightfoot en Chicago reconoce que el 32% de la población es afroamericana y que el 72% ha dado positivo para el virus, y eso es terrible. También sabemos que en Luisiana, las personas negras representan el 32% de la población del estado, sin embargo, representan el 59% de los casos que han dado positivo. Los líderes locales reconocen que necesitamos un socio federal, necesitamos datos estatales que sean agregados de manera que podamos darnos media vuelta y elaborar soluciones para lidiar con este problema histórico al que EE.UU. nunca antes se enfrentó.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Muchas gracias, Clarence. Creo que es importante, ante todo, como tú dices, recolectar la información y si alguien puede hacerlo, son los líderes locales con su sesgo de acción. Muchas gracias. Me gustaría seguir con el Dr. Brooks. Clarence recién nos contaba sobre los datos que muestran que la gente de color se ve afectada de manera desproporcionada por el coronavirus. Citó información específica sobre Chicago, Luisiana, ¿por qué pasa esto? ¿Y qué podemos hacer diferente para abordar este problema?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Bueno, buenas noches a todos y agradezco a AARP por acoger este debate sobre desigualdades y el impacto del coronavirus. Yo represento a los médicos afroamericanos, que es el AMA. El AMA también representa a la comunidad afroamericana y este es un problema crítico. También encontramos a los latinos en estos números, dentro de las desigualdades. Mis declaraciones principales se relacionarán con la comunidad Afroamericana, pero la población latina también está sufriendo. Entonces, ¿por qué sucede esto?

Repito, los datos nacionales muestran 2-2.5 veces más el índice de hospitalización y muertes, y lo hemos desglosado, pero creo que también es bueno verlo a nivel más global. En general, estamos viendo 2-2.5 veces más el índice de hospitalizaciones y muertes de afroamericanos por la COVID. Así que, básicamente, desde mi punto de vista es una mezcla tóxica de tres cosas principales que vemos. ¿Bien? Las minorías tenemos más de lo que se llama comorbilidad, nos enfermamos más. Vale destacar que todas estas tres cosas se entrelazan y hay un hilo que pasa a través de todas ellas y las conecta. En relación a eso, vemos que la COVID-19 causa un mayor impacto en quienes tienes diabetes, hipertensión, obesidad, enfermedad pulmonar.

 Los afroamericanos tienen dos veces más casos de diabetes, 20% más de hipertensión, 30% más propensos a la obesidad. Así que ahí está. Todo eso se contribuye a que se tengan peores resultados. Luego, los determinantes sociales de salud. Estos son básicamente, la estabilidad económica, el entorno físico, la educación, la alimentación, la comunidad y la seguridad alimentaria. El contenido social y los sistemas de salud.

Algunos ejemplos breves; es más probable que vivamos en hogares donde las personas no se pueden separar. Si seis personas tienen una casa de dos habitaciones, eso será un problema. Tenemos [indiscernible] el firmante, pero nuestra riqueza es un décimo de la riqueza de la población blanca. Así que hay determinantes sociales de salud, que es una cuestión importante, ya que solemos no estar asegurados. Es dos veces menos probable que estemos asegurados. Hay un estudio que muestra "Dime tu código postal y te diré tu esperanza de vida". Eso está claro.

Y la tercera mezcla, luego de las comorbilidades y los determinantes sociales de salud está implícita, la llamamos por su nombre, y es el racismo. Hay una historia de racismo en nuestro país. Y solo a modo de descripción, les voy a contar una historia que salió en la prensa libre de Detroit la semana pasada. Creo que fue el día 19, un hombre llamado Fowler. Gary Fowler. Fue a tres hospitales distintos. Tenía síntomas; fiebre, dificultad para respirar, tos. No le hicieron la prueba, no lo admitieron. Se fue a su casa, y murió sentado en una silla. Al día siguiente se llevaron su cuerpo a la morgue y su esposa fue al hospital, y tampoco le hicieron la prueba. Luego alguien entró y dijo: "Necesito una cama, me duele el estómago". Se la llevaron y la trataron como si tuviera coronavirus.

Existe una tendencia que debemos abordar, que sucede en este país y hay muchas cosas que podemos hacer. En primer lugar, debemos ser muy meticulosos con la prevención. Lavarnos las manos, cubrirnos al toser. Defendernos solos. Si te sube la presión arterial, controlarla. Si se te dispara la diabetes, tomar tu medicación, y debemos dejar algo en claro. Necesitamos mejores pruebas, como ya se dijo, y hay muchas otras cosas que podemos hacer. Podemos discutirlas a medida que sigamos.

 JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Gracias por resaltarlo tan claramente en términos de los tres factores. Michelle, sigamos contigo. A pesar de que hemos hablado mucho sobre el hecho de que el coronavirus es una crisis de salud, sabemos que esto está impactando rápidamente en nuestro bolsillo también, ¿cómo han afectado los efectos económicos a las diferentes áreas afectadas de la economía? ¿Y la gente de color también se ve más golpeada?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Bien, muchas gracias de nuevo por haberme invitado. Creo que esto es un foro y una charla excelente hasta ahora. Creo que el Dr. Brooks ha dado en el clavo. Ya veníamos apoyando esto, porque yo soy afroamericana. Ya venimos apoyando en muchas áreas económicas. Y no por fallas nuestras, el legado del racismo, nos gusta creer que hemos superado, y lo hemos hecho, muchas cosas. Pero hay aún mucha discriminación que ha desembocado en la crisis de la vivienda para los afroamericanos. Estamos subempleados. Nuestro salario no es el mismo. El patrimonio... y el patrimonio neto está atado a la vivienda porque tenemos casas, pero porque nuestros barrios se los marca con rojo, no tienen el mismo valor y apreciación. Mi casa en otro barrio valdría probablemente el doble de lo que vale en mi comunidad. Y en este momento, con el virus, mucha gente puede trabajar desde su casa, excepto los afroamericanos, porque el tipo de trabajo que tienen no les permite hacerlo, y hay un dicho que dice que cuando el país tiene un resfriado común, nosotros tenemos gripe.

Pues bien, nosotros ya habíamos tenido una pandemia antes de que fuera una pandemia oficial. Y eso es trágico porque saldremos de esta, pero me temo que los afroamericanos nos quedaremos atrás porque esta crisis, esta crisis económica es muy profunda.

JEAN SETZFAND: Totalmente. Creo, y repito, que llamar la atención a esto es uno de las cosas que queremos hacer para alzar la voz y para dirigir la atención hacia eso. Así que muchas gracias, Michelle. Dr. Brooks, creo que Michelle ha mencionado todo este asunto de que la gente tiene que salir de sus hogares.

En particular, estas personas en las comunidades de color tienen que salir de su casa para poder trabajar, y eso no es todo, me parece que hay, como dijo Michelle, gente dentro de las comunidades de color que tiene que salir de su hogar en lugar de trabajar a distancia. ¿Qué consejos puedes darnos en materia de medidas preventivas? En especial, repito, si es un hogar multigeneracional. Si están los abuelos que cuidan de los nietos, o que viven en hogares multigeneracionales, ¿cómo pueden estas personas Cuidarse, incluso cuando tienen que salir de su casa? ¿Qué pueden hacer?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Bien, creo que es una muy buena pregunta. Es una pregunta difícil, de hecho, no hay una orientación clara. Esto es una [INDISCERNIBLE] de información que debería pensar para poder dar una respuesta. Diría, en primer lugar, lo mejor que puedan si vuelven a casa, podrían aislarse. Eso es un poco [INDISCERNIBLE]. Veamos, vives allí, las demás personas viven allí. Así que eso sería ideal. Estar en otra habitación todos juntos, pero eso es imposible. Así que, lo que yo haría, en primer lugar, la persona que debe centrarse en esto es la persona que sale. Eso es muy importante. Así que si tienes que salir, debes ser muy escrupuloso con el control de la infección. Utiliza mascarillas el 100% del tiempo cuando estás con personas. Lávate las manos más seguido. Por ejemplo, cuando estás fuera. Mantén esa distancia física, esos seis pies, incluso con la mascarilla. Y recuerda, la mascarilla protege a las demás personas de ti, no te protege a ti de ellos. La mascarilla común que utilizamos.

Yo diría, si es posible, cubrir la ropa. Un abrigo, una bata. Algo para que tu ropa esté protegida. Y cuando salgas, y vuelvas a casa, después del trabajo, después del trabajo, lávate las manos antes de entrar al auto, o como sea que vayas. Hay que eliminar la conexión con el trabajo. Eso haría yo, y luego, cuando llegues a casa, quítate el abrigo o lo que sea que tengas. Déjalo afuera, no lo metas en la casa, y yo diría que en casa, seas muy claro. Limpia todas las superficies. Cúbrete la boca al toser, y también, para los abuelos, no se abracen tanto. Dense abrazos virtuales, ¿sabes? Traten de distraerse con lo que les parezca buena higiene, y una de las cosas que les pido y les sugiero es para los niños, limpien los juguetes, limpien los teléfonos, limpien los dispositivos electrónicos y la gente no debería compartir utensilios o beber del mismo vaso. Esas son solo algunas de las maneras en que podría responder esa pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy buenas recomendaciones prácticas. He oído a mucha gente hablar sobre el distanciamiento físico además del distanciamiento social y me parece que nos estás recordando eso también. Ya que mencionaste el lavado de manos, también he visto o leído sobre los guantes. ¿Qué piensas sobre eso? ¿Ayuda? En términos del uso de guantes, en especial en el trabajo.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Bien... tengo sentimientos encontrados con respecto a los guantes. Creo que los guantes tienen un propósito, por ejemplo, yo uso guantes cuando salgo a cargar combustible porque puedo cargar combustible, usar mi tarjeta de crédito, quitarme los guantes, y tirarlos a la basura. El problema con los guantes, creo que la gente adquiere una falsa sensación de seguridad. Tienen puesto guantes, trabajan, tocan el teclado, se van a almorzar, están en el comedor, vuelven, aún con los guantes puestos y se tocan la cara. Te da esta sensación con los guantes, de que tus manos son puras, pero recuerda que todo lo que tocas con el guante es lo mismo que tocarías con la mano. Y la gente no suele lavar los guantes. Así que diría que si te sientes cómodo sabiendo cómo usar guantes y entiendes que todo lo que tocas está en los guantes, entonces sí. Pero en general, estoy más a favor de lavarse las manos con frecuencia, y de limpiar todas las superficies.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy claro. Muchas gracias, Dr. Brooks. Bien, ahora creo que es momento de escuchar algunas preguntas. Nos han llegado muchas preguntas. Permítanme recordarles que si quieren hacer una pregunta, presionen *3 para hablar con el Dr. Brooks, Clarence Anthony y Michelle Singletary. Repito, presiona *3 en cualquier momento en tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del equipo de AARP que escuchará tu pregunta y te pondrá en espera. Les presento a mi colega de AARP, Mike Watson, que organizará las llamadas. ¡Bienvenido, Mike!

MIKE WATSON: Gracias, Jean. Estoy feliz de estar aquí en esta charla tan importante.

JEAN SETZFAND: ¡Genial! Bien, Mike. Creo que ya tienes varias llamadas para nosotros en espera. ¿Quién está en línea ahora?

MIKE WATSON: Sí, tenemos a Sonia, de Nueva York.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Sonia. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

SONIA: Mi pregunta es, yo soy mayor. Vivo en un pueblo, en una comunidad independiente. El supervisor del pueblo, a pesar de que ya han dado información. La verdad es que no están visitando los lugares donde viven los mayores porque no tienen ni computadora ni teléfono. La verdad, no están saliendo a ver qué pasa, y cómo pueden ayudarnos. La despensa se está vaciando y no todo el mundo tiene dinero para ir al supermercado.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, muchas gracias por su pregunta, Sonia. Creo que esta pregunta, se la voy a dar a... Voy a preguntarle a Clarence. Hay muchos tipos distintos de comunidades en el país y parece que Sonia vive en una comunidad más pequeña y rural. ¿Alguna idea sobre cómo los líderes de las comunidades más pequeñas están abordando el problema?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, y Sonia, gracias por su llamada. Y allí, en principio, los focos conflictivos de Estados Unidos fueron las comunidades urbanas más grandes pero lo que vemos es que lleva más tiempo llegar a las comunidades rurales, pero el impacto está creciendo más y más rápido en estas comunidades rurales. En especial, en la población de personas mayores. Lo que vemos aquí es único porque el desafío se ha triplicado.

Primero, la falta de opciones de transporte. Han cerrado algunos medios de transporte con los que la gente iba a las comunidades o se movía dentro de su comunidad, por lo tanto, quienes realmente necesitan atención de salud, no pueden hacerlo.

 Segundo, sabes, las personas mayores tanto como las poblaciones vulnerables, y las comunidades negras en particular, hablan de poder llegar. Es algo de sentido común, y los líderes locales ahora están alzando la voz para intentar asegurarse de que estos medios de transporte existan. El acceso a la atención de salud es un problema muy, muy grande, y lo que está pasando ahora es que los alcaldes y los miembros del Congreso están usando los medios de transporte o brindándole acceso a esas personas trabajando con su municipio a nivel estatal para ir hasta estas instalaciones a buscar a la gente y llevarla a un centro de salud que puedas ayudarlos.

Y tercero, creo que Sonia tiene razón. Internet. Es un problema real para las comunidades rurales. Especialmente, y repito, para las comunidades afroamericanas y las comunidades pobres y vulnerables. Este es el último lugar en Washington D.C. y en Chicago, y en otras ciudades grandes a los que llegan. Las comunidades negras tienen 4G y 5G. Las comunidades rurales están aún más atrasadas, y como exalcalde de una ciudad rural, te puedo decir que esos factores de salud y la esperanza de vida para la gente de color, así como quienes están en las comunidades rurales como esas, es mucho menor que los que están en comunidades mucho más densas. Existe un reconocimiento por parte de los Gobiernos locales y estamos luchando para poder llevar el dinero a esas comunidades rurales.

JEAN SETZFAND: Fantástico. Sí que tu organización está luchando por un mejor acceso a las comunidades más pequeñas. Así que gracias por ese apoyo. Bien, Mike. ¿Tenemos a alguien más en línea? ¿Quién es el siguiente?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente llamada es de Pauline, de Alabama.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Pauline. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

PAULINE: Buenas noches y gracias por dejarme participar. Mi pregunta es, tengo una amiga mayor de 50 años, jubilada, que recibe los beneficios de Medicaid, y ha solicitado el paquete de estímulo y dice que le dijeron que no cumple los requisitos. También cuida a su mamá, y gran parte de su dinero, que no es mucho, lo usa para su madre, entonces, ¿qué puede hacer?

JEAN SETZFAND: Buena pregunta, Pauline. Con respecto al paquete de estímulo... ¿Michelle, me ayudas con esa pregunta?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Sí, no estoy segura de por qué, creo que puede que le hayan informado mal, porque el paquete de estímulo se basa en el ingreso bruto ajustado. Así que a menos que la cuidadora, como individuo, está ganando más de, o tiene un ingreso bruto ajustado de más de $75,000, claro que califica para el dinero del estímulo de $1,200.

Creo que ha habido una confusión con respecto a cómo cobrarlo. Quizás es eso. Bueno, no recibirá el Seguro Social, así que, si no presenta declaración de impuesto o no necesita hacerlo porque no gana lo suficiente, tiene que utilizar la herramienta en www.irs.gov para ingresar sus datos, para que sepan que está allí y pueda obtener el pago.

De otra manera, si ha presentado una declaración de impuestos para el 2018 o 2019, y llega a esos niveles de ingreso, que son $75,000 o menos para individuos y el doble para parejas. Ella recibirá el dinero, así que probablemente hubo algún tipo de desinformación. Estoy segura que su amiga cumple los requerimientos para el pago de estímulo.

JEAN SETZFAND: Eso es de mucha ayuda. Y luego mencionaste entrar a www.irs.gov, ¿hay algún lugar en particular en www.irs.gov que Pauline deba chequear?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Sí, cuando vas a la página de inicio y ten mucho cuidado cuando lo escribas, porque no quiero enviarte al sitio equivocado. Entonces, es www.irs.gov, en la página de inicio dirá "no declarante" si normalmente no presentas declaración de impuestos. Si presentas declaración y quieres que tu dinero se deposite directamente, utilizarás la herramienta "obtener mi pago", pero repito, quizás no maneja muy bien la tecnología. Mientras tengas una devolución por parte del IRS ya sea del año 2018 o 2019, tendrás tu dinero, pero se enviará en forma de cheque.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial, gracias por dejarlo en claro. Te agradezco, Michelle. Bien, Mike, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea esta noche?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente persona será Beatriz de Misuri.

JEAN SETZFAND: Beatriz, hola. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

BEATRIZ: Buenas noches. Mí pregunta es, para los medios, los afroamericanos constituyen el porcentaje más grande de muertes en Estados Unidos por el virus de la COVID-19, considerando la población, el porcentaje de la población en Estados Unidos de estadounidenses blancos y afroamericanos, ¿tengo que pensar que existen más afroamericanos con enfermedades crónicas subyacentes que blancos en Estados Unidos?

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por su pregunta, Beatriz. Dr. Brooks, creo que hablaste de esto antes en términos de estadísticas y el perfil de salud subyacente en el país. ¿Puedes refrescarnos la memoria con eso de nuevo? ¿Para abordar la pregunta de Beatriz?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Por supuesto, y gracias, Beatriz, por hacer esa pregunta. En porcentaje de muertos, tenemos, los afroamericanos tienen índices más altos de hipertensión, que es vínculo número uno para tener un resultado adverso. 20% más diabetes, dos veces, 2.2 veces más común entre afroamericanos que en la población blanca. La obesidad es 30% más común, pero quiero decirle una cosa a Beatriz. Los estudios también muestran que si logras controlar tu enfermedad, eres menos propensa a tener problemas por eso. Así que, repito, solo quiero hacer hincapié.

Así que, la respuesta a tu pregunta, sí. Con cifras en bruto, pero-- puede haber más muertes, pero se relaciona con los porcentajes, un nivel mucho más alto entre la población afroamericana porque, sí, tenemos esas enfermedades por las razones que acabo de describir. Y le agradezco al Cirujano General por haber traído la atención a este tema de desigualdades.

JEAN SETZFAND: Solo un pequeño seguimiento.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Equipo, ¿puedo agregar algo? Si no les molesta?

JEAN SETZFAND: Por supuesto. Por supuesto.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Sí, también quería agregar que también viene de algunas prácticas sistemáticas que tenía Estados Unidos. Sabes, la observación de las refinerías de petróleo, instalaciones de residuos... Todo eso nos llevó a tener los problemas respiratorios que tenemos en Estados Unidos a causa de eso... la diabetes, tenemos desiertos de alimento en la comunidad afroamericana, donde no tenemos vegetales de calidad, que tenemos el mercado y los negocios allí que venden comida de baja calidad.

Así que vas a donde sea dentro de tu barrio y, tercero, volvemos a la atención de salud y el acceso a la misma. Tener acceso a la atención De salud de manera oportuna es muy difícil, así como lo es el costo. Así que, sí; es verdad, pero parte de eso han sido prácticas sistemáticas de Estados Unidos y creo que Michelle habló un poco de eso en términos de "línea roja" y vivienda. Así que, parte de esto es... histórico en nuestro sistema.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, así que la pandemia también está sacando a la luz cuestiones sistemáticas subyacentes dentro de nuestras comunidades que tenemos que resolver. Y volviendo al Dr. Brooks y lo que decía sobre controlar Los trastornos de salud. Dadas las circunstancias actuales tanto con doctores como con hospitales archivando más casos y probablemente más instancias de contaminación. ¿Alguna recomendación para nuestros oyentes sobre qué hacer? Hacer uso de telesalud o cómo, cómo alguna recomendación sobre eso en términos de buscar rutas seguras para acceder a la atención de salud.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Correcto. Es una excelente pregunta, y estamos lidiando con eso día a día, así que, mencionaste telesalud. La telesalud es muy, muy importante a esta altura. Mucha información que quizás necesites en relación a tu salud, la puedes obtener en una comunicación de telesalud, hasta medirte la presión arterial. Por ejemplo, en L.A., la presión arterial, las mangas automáticas de presión arterial están cubiertas por Medicaid. Pero digamos que no están cubiertas. Vas y gastas los $30 que cuesta y luego te mides la presión arterial. Mucha gente que tiene diabetes se miden sus propios niveles de glucosa en sangre. Puedes hacer mucho para ayudarte. En este momento, muchos lugares no están dando consultas no esenciales. Así que es un muy buen punto el que has sacado sobre eso. Así que no necesitas ir al médico para mantenerte saludable.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, gracias por tus recomendaciones. Ahora, volvamos a las llamadas telefónicas. Mike, ¿a quién tenemos al teléfono?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente llamada es de Pam, de Nueva York.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Pam, ¿cuál es su pregunta?

PAM: Hola. Mi pregunta es sobre la Ley de Licencia Familiar. La he pedido en mi trabajo, por mi mamá, los días que no se siente bien. Ella tiene 79 años y yo... he pedido mis días desde el 13 de marzo en adelante, pero me están diciendo que el estado, o quien sea, no han aprobado que la licencia familiar le pague a la gente por cuidar de sus padres y por no trabajar durante el coronavirus.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, bueno, gracias por tu pregunta y gracias por cuidar de tu mamá. Eso es lo más importante. Michelle, ¿te puedo dar esta pregunta? ¿Algún consejo con respecto a la Ley de Licencia Familiar?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Bueno, me pregunto si se refiere a la cláusula de la Ley de Cuidadores, en la cual, si estás desempleado, hay ciertas prestaciones extendidas, incluso si se te han reducido las horas, pero no estoy segura por qué pueden no haberla aprobado, bajo la Ley de Licencia Familiar. Dr. Brooks o Anthony, ¿saben algo sobre este tema? Yo no, me temo que no puedo responder su pregunta.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: La verdad que no puedo enfocarme mucho en el tema, lo siento.

JEAN SETZFAND: Está bien. Bueno, gracias y, Michelle, creo que es buena idea chequear con ambos lugares, ¿verdad? Creo que tanto el empleador, y si hay cierto acceso a las prestaciones expandidas de desempleo, creo que ese también es otro lugar para investigar.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Sí. Bien, creo que deberías consultarlo con tu empleador para la licencia aprobada y luego, si ella estuvo intentando acceder a la parte de desempleo de la Ley de Cuidadores, que ha sido extendida para personas que hayan tenido que dejar su trabajo para cuidar de alguien como parte de esta pandemia, entonces se supone que reciban las prestaciones extendidas. Ahora, en muchos estados, eso no va a suceder porque los sistemas están colapsados, y no pueden llegar a la gente.

JEAN SETZFAND: Correcto, entonces ese es otro buen recordatorio, ser persistente. Gracias. Bien, Mike. Volvamos a las llamadas. ¿Quién es el siguiente?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. Nuestra siguiente pregunta es desde YouTube. Ronell, desde Youtube, pregunta: "¿Qué hacen si saben de una persona que ha estado caminando libremente expuesta a la COVID-19, probablemente contagiando a otros y negándose a hacerse la prueba?"

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien. Esa pregunta es un poco problemática. Empecemos con el Dr. Brooks. Entonces, si sabes de alguien que probablemente, sabe de alguien que ha estado expuesto a la COVID-19 y puede ser asintomático o sintomático, caminando libremente, pero se niega a hacerse la prueba. ¿Cuál es tu recomendación para esto?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Es una buena pregunta, es una pregunta interesante. Bien, lo que yo recomendaría, y esto me molesta porque, en teoría, por ejemplo, si alguien tiene tuberculosis, de hecho podemos ponerlo en cuarentena, podemos aislarlos pero el Departamento de Salud Pública tiene esa autoridad. Lo que haría yo es llamar al municipio o Departamento de Salud Pública local y denunciarlo. Repito, esto es interesante, es como jugar al investigador privado, reunirá toda la información posible, en especial el nombre de la persona y la fecha de nacimiento, si fuese posible, y luego la denunciará. Y diría: "Eso es lo que yo veo". Puedes, como individuo, actuar sobre eso, pero puede haber cláusulas dentro de la autoridad estatal o local que les permita investigar a una persona. Eso es lo que yo recomiendo.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: ¿Puedo agregar algo importante? Soy Michelle.

JEAN SETZFAND: Claro.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Creo que todos debemos ser cuidadosos. Es decir, creo que el Dr. Brooks tiene razón, pero creo que debemos ser cuidadosos porque estamos todos muy paranoicos hoy en día. Y muchos de nosotros pensamos que lo tenemos, o no estamos seguros, o sinceramente, sin importar qué diga la Administración, no todos pueden hacerse la prueba, el que quiera la prueba. Así que no estamos seguros de que esta persona lo tenga porque no hay manera.

Mi hija tiene asma y estuvo resfriada cuando volvió a casa de la universidad, y claro, todos nos preocupamos mucho. Y cuando llamó, y el doctor le preguntó sobre hacerse la prueba, y nosotros le decíamos: "No. No te hagas la prueba. Espera y vemos qué sucede". Resulta que era solo un resfrío, ni siquiera tuvo fiebre y luego hay gente que quiere saber si alguien en su edificio lo tiene. El complejo de apartamentos debería informar a sus residentes. Existen leyes de privacidad, existe HIPPA, claro, el Dr. Brooks seguro sabe más que yo sobre el tema, pero no podemos ir por ahí haciendo que la gente nos diga qué tienen y si lo tienen o no.

Creo, como individuo, que debemos asegurarnos de tomar las precauciones que el Dr. Brooks mencionó para que no nos contagiemos. Pero no quiero que lleguemos al punto donde alguien llama, quiero decir, yo estaba-- no sé dónde, estaba en un avión y alguien tosió y todo el mundo se desesperó. ¿Sabes? Y yo pensé: "¡Tosieron!" Y yo soy alérgica y mi marido es alérgico y de repente decía: "No, no, no. Es alérgico, es alérgico". Así que hagamos una pausa y reconozcamos que la gente también tiene privacidad médica. No puedes obligar a alguien a que se haga una prueba, pero sí debemos practicar y alentar a la gente, pero hay que admitir que incluso si alguien piensa que lo tiene, no necesariamente podrán ir y hacerse la prueba ya.

JEAN SETZFAND: Buen punto. Y de hecho voy consultar con el Dr. Brooks sobre eso también.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Bien.

JEAN SETZFAND: ¿Qué recomendación tienes para nosotros ahora? Porque hay algunas limitaciones en lugares que realicen la prueba y para acceder a la misma.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Dos cosas. Primero, agradezco el comentario de la Sra. Singletary sobre la presunción que genera esta pregunta. Esta persona contagiando abiertamente. Yendo por la vida, tosiendo, sin mascarilla ni nada.

JEAN SETZFAND: Es verdad.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Desde mi punto de vista, al menos en California, tienes que usar mascarilla, aunque sea solo para salir. Esa es mi modo de pensar. Si en teoría ves a alguien caminando por ahí, y por ley hay que usar mascarilla, y no la están usando. Así que sí, agradezco el comentario de Michelle. Entonces, hacerse la prueba es complicado y varía de lugar a lugar. Algunos lugares le están haciendo la prueba a todos, otros lo están limitando a quienes han tenido estos síntomas en particular. Por eso, y lo que dijo ella es verdad, quizás quieras hacerte la prueba y no puedas porque no pasaste los criterios de revisión. Así que lo que pasará en las siguientes semanas y meses es que se realizarán más y más pruebas. Así que no hay una respuesta clara a esta pregunta porque es muy variable.

Yo diría que si eres sintomático y, en este momento, principalmente hablamos de fiebre, tos, falta de aire, síntomas de gripe, también se incluyen los síntomas gastrointestinales. Si pasas los criterios de revisión, deberías hacerte la prueba, pero repito, el criterio de prueba es cada vez más relajado. En algunas áreas, si eres trabajador de la salud, puedes hacerte la prueba. En algunas áreas, si eres mayor de 60 o 65, puedes hacerte la prueba sin ningún otro criterio.

Así que diría que depende de tu área local para ver cómo se están efectuando las pruebas. Y repito, yo iría solo al Departamento de Salud local y no al Departamento de Salud estatal.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, muchas gracias. Eso es de gran ayuda. Y recuerden que si tienen una pregunta, repito, presionen *3 para contactar a un miembro del personal para poner a tu pregunta en la lista. Antes de volver a las preguntas, me gustaría resaltar el servicio de AARP. A veces solamente oír una voz amable puede ayudar en estos tiempos difíciles.

Tu Comunidad con AARP es un servicio gratis para adultos mayores de 18 años. Tenemos voluntarios capacitados esperando para brindarte una llamada amable o simplemente saludarte. Si te gustaría hablar con alguien de lunes a viernes, de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m., horario del este, llama al 888-281-0145. Déjanos tus datos y uno de los voluntarios te llamará y, si lo prefieres, podemos arreglar una llamada, por ejemplo, para el miércoles a las 2 p.m., para una presentación.

Repito, este servicio es gratis para cualquier adulto, sin importar si eres socio. Contamos con algunas personas bilingües también, incluyendo español, al mismo número 888-281-0145.

Bien, volvamos con los expertos a aprender un poco más de ellos. Voy a continuar con Clarence. Ya hemos hablado de esto, en términos de los focos conflictivos que se ven más afectados por el coronavirus. Estamos viendo que mayormente en las partes del país densamente pobladas. Hemos hablado un poco sobre esto en la última llamada también, pero porque vemos que las pequeñas comunidades y las áreas rurales sienten más los efectos también. ¿Cómo sienten el impacto los diferentes tipos de comunidades? ¿Cómo han respondido? Clarence, ya nos has contado un poco sobre esto anteriormente, cuéntanos un poco más sobre lo que la Liga Nacional de Ciudades está haciendo en este frente.

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, en-- es una buena pregunta. Repito, ya he hablado un poco sobre la perspectiva en las noticias. Vemos muchas grandes ciudades en las noticias, y consiguen recursos del Gobierno federal directamente. Y en los últimos tres proyectos de ley, en especial la Ley de Cuidadores, si se trataba de una ciudad con una población de 500,000 o más, recibía financiación directa del Gobierno local, del Gobierno federal. Y si no lo eras, tenías que básicamente ir a suplicarle al Gobierno federal o al Gobierno estatal que te dé el dinero, y eso es frustrante, porque todo el impacto, repito, se mueve lentamente pero se dirige hacia estas comunidades rurales. Las de Oklahoma, las de Mississippi, las de Alabama. Y ahora vemos que está golpeando a las de Carolina del Norte y Carolina del Sur. Y lo que estamos haciendo es ayudar a esos funcionarios electos a que puedan abogar para conseguir dinero directamente del Gobierno federal, uno.

Pero segundo, abogando para conseguir que se realicen pruebas a los residentes en las comunidades. También hemos visto en algunas comunidades, como Albany, Georgia, por ejemplo. Como una de las más altas per cápita de la población testeada de COVID-19, y eso fue porque algunas de las prácticas aún se practicaban en estas comunidades rurales. Seguían celebrando misa, servicios fúnebres, y por eso estamos abogando y presionando, y brindando herramientas a nuestros líderes para ayudarlos a educar y dar servicio a esas comunidades. Y si no nos enfocamos en esa población y reducimos los recursos, a Estados unidos le costará mucho recuperarse económicamente. Así que estamos enfocados en eso, así como estamos enfocados en las comunidades más grandes.

JEAN SETZFAND: Por supuesto, creo que la tensión es real, y creo que cada vez escuchamos más noticias sobre volver a empezar en algunas comunidades. Estoy segura que debe ser una decisión muy difícil de tomar. ¿Algo que hayas escuchado en el país, por parte de tus miembros sobre ese tema, de comenzar de nuevo en ciertas comunidades?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí. Estamos en contacto constante. Nuestros alcaldes y miembros del consejo con el Gobierno federal y el Gobierno estatal, y nuestros líderes están muy preocupados. Están muy preocupados por la situación urgente de tener que crear un respaldo para los negocios, cuando no estamos preparados. Estamos preocupados por la posibilidad, y el Dr. Brooks debe saber mejor que yo sobre esto, la posibilidad de otro golpe, un golpe más grande en primavera si volvemos demasiado rápido. Así que los que los líderes locales esperan es que consigamos que los gobernadores entiendan que no debemos sacrificar la vida de la gente, solo para volver a abrir.

El gobernador de Georgia es un ejemplo. Nuestros líderes en Georgia creen que es un irresponsable, un desconsiderado que solo se enfoca en intentar abrir nuevos negocios para que la economía se recupere por razones políticas. ¿Sabes? Y habla de abrir salones de belleza y barberías, y lugares de ese estilo, salones de masaje.

 Y una gran líder, te digo, la alcaldesa Keisha Lance Bottoms, cuya familia está en el negocio de productos de belleza, y que no va a permitir que esas instalaciones vuelvan a abrir, pero lo que hizo también fue dar un paso adelante. Creó una fundación para la industria de productos de belleza, para poder hacer dinero, para que, en caso de que no abriera, tengan dinero para ayudarlos a pagar las cuentas. De eso se trata el liderazgo. A este punto, no necesitamos volver a abrir, no necesitamos apresurarnos, porque si lo hacemos, perderemos miles y miles de vidas más en nuestras comunidades, en especial en la comunidad afroamericana.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Muchas gracias, Clarence, muy buen ejemplo. Y hablando de economía, Michelle, permíteme sacar el tema de las finanzas personales. ¿Qué consejos tienes para quienes se encuentran en una crisis económica hoy en día? Probablemente están pensando en sus estados de cuenta, frente al impacto a largo plazo y esas decisiones y las tensiones entre los dos. ¿Qué consejos e indicaciones puedes darles?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Bueno, me gusta hablar de eso... Y, Dr. Brooks, perdóneme si no utilizo esto correctamente, pero intento alentar a la gente a que examinen y prioricen sus cuentas, como en la sala de emergencias examinan y priorizan a los pacientes. Si alguna vez tuviste que ir a la sala de emergencia y está llena de gente y no hay suficiente personal, se toma a los pacientes más graves primero, y eso es justo. Tiene sentido. Así tienes que hacer con tus cuentas. Paga las cuentas más importantes primero. Estas son tus necesidades, el techo para vivir, la comida en el plato, si tienes que ir a trabajar, el transporte, y luego despídete de todo lo que puedas despedirte.

Ahora, si te despiden, o entras en licencia sin goce de sueldo o tus ingresos se ve alterado o quizás los ingresos de tu pareja se ve alterado, la cuenta de tarjeta de crédito no es una prioridad. Llama a los prestamistas y diles: "No puedo pagar esto. Necesito una prórroga". Y muchos de ellos, casi todo el mundo en este momento, está pidiendo prórrogas. No te preocupes por tu calificación crediticia. Ya habrá tiempo de preocuparse por eso porque ahora debes cuidar de ti mismo, así como los doctores cuidan a los pacientes más graves primero. Sí, te has lastimado la mano, quizás se te cayó el martillo o algo, o quizás es una torcedura, pero la persona que tuvo un infarto tiene que pasar primero. Así que la hipoteca, el alquiler, la comida, el seguro del auto en caso de accidente. Dale prioridad a esas cosas, y no olvides que mucha gente quiere ser financieramente responsable. Quieren pagar todas sus cuentas, pero estos son tiempos difíciles, ¿sabes? Cuando nos enfrentamos una cuestión económica extraordinaria, hacen falta medidas extraordinarias. Si estás trabajando y tus ingresos no fueron alterados y nunca creaste un fondo de emergencia, ahora es momento de hacerlo.

Es como decía el Dr. Brooks, cuidar de uno mismo, estabas viviendo por lo alto, gastando más de lo que ganas, yéndote en cruceros, de vacaciones y demás. Ahora que estás encerrado en casa, usa todo ese dinero que habrías gastado saliendo y haciendo todo eso que ahora no debes hacer, crea un fondo de emergencia porque el trabajo no es seguro para nadie. No importa si trabajas para el Gobierno federal, el Gobierno estatal, o como yo en el Post, yo no cuento con que mi trabajo siga ahí. Hoy tenemos una economía sórdida por causa de la epidemia. Así que ahorra dinero, es bueno tener efectivo hoy en día. Así que incluso si estás en un plan de pago de deudas, si no estás seguro de que tu trabajo sea seguro, es momento de crear un fondo de emergencia.

Escucha, si estás en tu casa y estás ajustado con las finanzas, estás bien, siempre has sido frugal y tienes de sobra, este es el momento de deshacerse de parte de ese dinero y ayudar a los demás. Ya sea en tu familia, en tu comunidad religiosa, tú sabes quién necesita ayuda. Quién perdió su trabajo. Envíales algo de dinero por PayPal o aplicaciones móviles, para que puedan hacer las compras. Porque ahora somos nosotros los guardianes de nuestros hermanos y hermanas, por lo que esas son las tres categorías de personas de las que hablo, y estamos en esto juntos. Así que dependiendo de dónde estás, necesito que hagas lo que corresponda para asegurarte de estar financieramente seguro.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Recomendaciones muy claras, Michelle. Ayudarnos y ayudar a los demás. Genial.

Bien, antes de volver a las preguntas, quiero darles una alerta rápida de coronavirus de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP. Desgraciadamente, los estafadores están intentando robarte el dinero y los datos personales falsos [INDISCERNIBLE], ofreciendo inversiones falsas, haciéndose pasar por profesionales médicos para cobrar pagos. Haciéndose pasar por autoridades de salud global para llevar a cabo campañas por correo diseñadas para cargar programas maliciosos en tu dispositivo, robarte contraseñas y demás credenciales.

Google ha reportado que se han filtrado más de 18 millones de fraudes electrónicos y “malware” de su servicio de correo electrónico y ayer, el Departamento de Justicia dijo que las agencias de orden público del país y los operadores de sitios web han retirado cientos de sitios fraudulentos, incluidos algunos que burlaban los programas de Gobierno y las entidades.

Así que, si te encuentras con una estafa, sobre las que te acabamos de contar, puedes detenerla. Entra a www.aarp.org/fraude para conocer cómo detener y evitar la COVID-19 y otras estafas. También puedes denunciar estafas o recibir ayuda si sientes que has sido víctima en la línea de asistencia de la Red Contra el Fraude de AARP y el número es 877-908-3360. Repito, el número es 877-908-3360.

Grandioso, ahora volvamos a las preguntas. Es momento de dirigir las preguntas al Dr. Brooks de la National Medical Association. Clarence Anthony de la Liga Nacional de Ciudades y Michelle Singletary del Washington Post. Y les recuerdo a los oyentes que si tienen alguna pregunta, recuerden presionar *3 en cualquier momento en tu teléfono para contactarte con un miembro del equipo de AARP y compartir tu pregunta. Y repito, para más información, acceder a esta grabación y otros recursos, y otros eventos que hemos tenido, ingresa a www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Bien, vayamos a las preguntas. Mike, ¿a quién tenemos en línea?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente pregunta es de Marcus, de Rhode Island.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial, Marcus, su pregunta.

MARCUS: Hola, gracias a todos los oradores por sus comentarios y por su trabajo sobre las desigualdades. Me gustaría enmarcar mi pregunta. Estoy pensando en la Gripe Española de 1918-1920. y el impacto, el impacto arrollador que tuvo en áfrica y en la comunidad afroamericana aquí en Estados Unidos. Quiero poder, en mi defensa, quiero poder señalar algunos de los datos históricos de cómo eso impactó económicamente a las comunidades a largo plazo. ¿Tienen alguna sugerencia o información sobre los datos históricos y algún dato contemporáneo al que pueda apuntar en mis discusiones?

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por esa gran pregunta, Marcus. Comencemos con el Dr. Brooks. Rememorando la Gripe Española, ¿qué podemos aprender de eso?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Bien, él habla sobre las comunidades afroamericanas y el continente africano. Y yo no puedo opinar directamente como una cuestión económica, pero sí puedo hablar desde el control de la infección. Cuando se rastreó el contacto y la gente siguió a quienes tuvieron la gripe y aislaron a quienes estuvieron en contacto, nos dimos cuenta que eso fue lo que detuvo o, al menos, disminuyó el índice de muertes de la Gripe Española. En relación a cómo afectó eso al continente y a la gente afroamericana, la verdad es que no tengo ningún dato en particular. Pero el control de la infección, lo que estamos haciendo ahora es aprender de lo que hicieron en ese entonces.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Gracias. Bien, Mike, ¿a quién más tenemos en línea? ¿Quién es el siguiente?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente llamada es de Ursula, de Michigan.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Ursula. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

URSULA: Mi pregunta es, llamo por mi hija. Ella trabaja por cuenta propia, es esteticista, y tiene su pequeño negocio. Y está sin trabajo desde el 24 de marzo y la pregunta es, ella intentó solicitar las prestaciones por desempleo y se la rechazaron y la pregunta ahora es, ¿recibir algún estímulo del Gobierno o no?

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, muchas gracias por tu pregunta. Michelle, te voy a pasar esta pregunta a ti. Repito, creo que es una cuestión relacionada al acceso al estímulo o, potencialmente al desempleo para alguien que trabaja por su cuenta.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Bien, yo alentaría a su hija a que apele la decisión, la demanda, porque en muchos estados los sistemas colapsaron y con mucha gente han cometido errores al negarle acceso a las personas. Hay un proceso de apelación, todos los estados lo tienen. Y obviamente, todo está colapsado ahora, pero quizás pueda completarlo porque puede que haya un error en algún lado. Y también, con la Ley de Cuidadores, los estados tenían permitido agregar personas no tradicionales al seguro de desempleo.

Por lo que puede que este estado haya decidido que en su área no darán lugar al pago, pero yo sin dudas presentaría una apelación. Y segundo, si es un individuo y no ha reclamado la devolución de impuesto por alguien más, no parece que lo haya hecho, si tiene su propio negocio, y como individuo, gana $75,000 o menos, sin dudas cumple los requisitos para el dinero de estímulo. Y eso sería $1,200. Tiene hijos menores de 17, cumpliría los requisitos para unos $500 extra por hijo. Pero tiene que haber presentado una declaración en el 2018 o 2019.

Si no ha presentado una declaración, porque algunos, no digo que su sea su hija, pero hay gente que trabaja por su cuenta y no necesariamente cumple con las leyes de impuesto como deberían, pero puede ir a la herramienta de "no declarante" e introducir los datos para que le den un cheque. Ahora mismo, no están intentando perseguir a nadie que tenga, ya sabes, impuestos, y lo otro es que no van a arrebatarte el dinero si debes impuestos. La única razón por la que te pedirán cuentas es si tienes una cuota alimentaria por hijo. Así que to le recomendaría que presente una reclamación, que presente una apelación por desempleo, y debería ser elegible, sin dudas. Si no ha presentado una declaración, que use la herramienta de "no declarante".

Si lo hizo y quizás no tiene información del depósito directo porque no recibió un reintegro, debería una la herramienta "obtener mi pago". Y me gustaría agregar que en el sitio web del Washington Post, tenemos una página "Tu dinero en la pandemia", que tiene muchas Preguntas Frecuentes, que incluyen los préstamos de pequeños negocios, los pagos de estímulo, desempleo, cada semana más o menos, agregamos nuevas Preguntas Frecuentes. Podrán encontrar las respuestas a muchas preguntas que la gente no puede completar en este programa, en esta página de destino, en www.washingtonpost.com.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias, Michelle. Me parece que son buenas noticias para los oyentes. No solo es una situación "o" entre el desempleo y el estímulo, sino que podría ser una situación "y". Así que ver ambos recursos podría ser útil. Gracias. Bien, Mike. ¿Quién es el siguiente?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente llamada es de Terri, de Carolina del Sur.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Terri. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

TERRI: Sí, gracias por atenderme. ¿Qué es la línea roja de barrios y quién es-- quién diseña esto?

JEAN SETZFAND: Buena pregunta, Terri. Creo que se mencionó en una de las llamadas anteriores. Clarence, ¿podrías guiarnos en eso nuevamente? Todo el triste asunto de la línea roja.

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, la historia de la planificación urbana condujo al punto crítico en el cual las ciudades se diseñaron como partes de comunidades, ya sea vivienda o negocios, y lo que hicieron fue a menudo crear ciertas áreas o desarrollaron ciertas áreas que designaron como viviendas y otros programas dentro de esas comunidades. Y esas comunidades a veces eran las comunidades menos atractivas, e instalaron una población en esas comunidades.

La primera instancia de línea roja ocurrió realmente junto con la ley G.I. Bill, cuando el Gobierno federal y todos los soldados volvieron y los veteranos obtuvieron todos esos préstamos. Primero, no le otorgaban préstamos a los afroamericanos y luego comenzaron a otorgar esos préstamos y los afroamericanos comenzaron a vivir y a moverse a esas comunidades junto con los blancos, y luego los blancos se mudaron porque no querían ser parte de esas comunidades.

Por lo tanto, hubo menos inversiones dentro de esas comunidades. Y la atención luego se movió hacia lo que nos referimos en planificación urbana como "fuga de blancos" en la que se alejaron de esas comunidades de residentes afroamericanos, pero lo que se perdió fueron los supermercados, las agencias de autos, los cines. Pero lo que se instaló allí podrían haber sido basureros, refinerías de petróleo e instalaciones de ese estilo.

Así que la historia de la "línea roja" realmente crea un espacio en las ciudades y en las áreas que donde encontramos mayormente a personas de bajos ingresos. Y ha sido una práctica que la Liga Nacional de Ciudades ha resaltado porque es sistémico, es racista y ha hecho que muchas comunidades se vean desafiadas económicamente. Y creo que ya lo ha dicho la Sra. Singletary, Michelle, que las viviendas y la inversión en los hogares es probablemente la inversión más grande que harás. Y la línea roja ha causado que ese no sea un lugar donde las familias negras puedan ver crecer su economía.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por el contexto y trasfondo, repito, creo que la pandemia también se está enfocando en cuán devastadoras son esas desigualdades sistemáticas. Y también levantando vuelo en particular en las comunidades de color. Así que, gracias por el trasfondo y el contexto. Mike, volvamos a algunas llamadas. ¿Quién sigue?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. El siguiente es Paul, de Silver City.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Paul, ¿cuál es su pregunta?

PAUL: Bueno, mi pregunta es tanto para un médico como para un sacerdote zen. Me interesa mucho el bienestar emocional de las personas. Es decir, escucho a la gente hablar sobre los problemas físicos y demás, pero ¿qué organizaciones existen allí afuera? ¿Qué practica la gente pro bono, para sentarse y escuchar? ¿Y sabemos quiénes son estas organizaciones? ¿Y qué está disponible? Porque el sufrimiento que perdura es tremendo y la venta de armas aumenta. Es decir, veo esto y pienso: "esto es muy serio." Así que esa es mi pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias, Paul, por resaltar el bienestar mental también. Dr. Brooks, comencemos contigo. ¿Alguna idea sobre lo que pregunta Paul?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Creo que es excelente que haya sacado ese tema porque nos afecta de manera mental, psicológica, y se podría decir, espiritual. Por lo que necesitamos hallar algo de consuelo, se podría decir, en nuestras vidas. En términos de recursos específicos, repito, tu municipio local o departamento de salud mental estatal tendrá los recursos. Puedes dirigirte allí. Por ejemplo, sí de otra cosa que él no mencionó y es que hay preocupación sobre la violencia doméstica en términos de que a alguien lo echan de la casa. Hay recursos en esa área.

Creo que es importante que nos enfoquemos en esto. Por eso utilicé el término distanciamiento físico en lugar de distanciamiento social porque se necesita mantener la distancia física, pero no ser distante en lo social. Llama a tus amigos. Llama a la gente con la que no hablas hace tiempo. Obviamente, no hay misa. Hay misas virtuales para quienes tienen eso en términos de su fe basada en las prácticas. Él es zen. Mira dentro tuyo, medita. Eso te calmará.

Creo que es importante destacar que el estrés es una [indiscernible] debilita tu sistema inmune. Así que, si estás estresado por esto, si tienes una pequeña inestabilidad emocional, eso puede ser difícil de ver físicamente. Recursos específicos, no lo sé, pero estoy seguro de que los hay. Es algo que quizás AARP pueda ver en términos de, luego de esta llamada, para información específica sobre dónde ponerse en contacto para lo que él se refiere.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial, muchas gracias, Dr. Brooks y, a pesar de que no tenemos personal médico en línea, he mencionado previamente que AARP tiene un servicio llamado Mi Comunidad con AARP. Y repito, es un servicio gratuito para cualquier adulto, mayor de 18 años. Tenemos voluntarios capacitados esperando llamar solo para saludar o al punto que el Dr. Brooks acaba de mencionar sobre la distancia física frente a la distancia social. Esta es una manera de tener a alguien de verdad, de tener una charla amable e informal con alguien. Así que si alguien quiere aprovechar el servicio, estamos disponibles para tu llamada, de lunes a viernes, de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m., horario del este. El número es 888-281-0145. Déjanos tus datos y uno de los voluntarios te llamará. El número es 888-281-0145.

Bien, sigamos con la siguiente pregunta. Mike, ¿quién es nuestra siguiente pregunta?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. La siguiente pregunta es, de hecho, desde Youtube. Tenemos a Catherine desde Youtube, y dijo: "Tengo miedo de quedarme sin trabajo y sin mis beneficios de mi seguro médico. Necesito la cobertura. ¿Cuáles son las opciones si llego a perder mis beneficios, y hay alguien trabajando en esto?"

JEAN SETZFAND: Gran pregunta de Catherine. Michelle, ¿nos ayudas con esto?, a pesar de que sea sobre coberturas de salud. Creo que esta persona está preocupada por, repito, el gran número de desempleo del que estamos escuchando y de llegar a perder su cobertura por empleo, su cobertura de salud por empleo. ¿Qué puede hacer Catherine al respecto?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Hay varias áreas. A veces, cuando te quedas sin cobertura de salud por empleo, puedes tener COBRA, que es una extensión del seguro de salud por empleo. Ahora, la desventaja es que puede ser muy costoso porque tienes que pagar tu parte, más la parte que pagaba el empleador. Así que, para una familia de cinco, puede costar unos $2000 al mes. ¿Quién puede pagar eso? Así que es una opción para mantener tu cobertura hasta que consigas otro trabajo. También hay, si te quedas sin dinero-- sin trabajo y cumples los requisitos, en algún momento, puedes intentar solicitar Medicaid, que es el seguro de salud federal y estatal para personas de bajos ingresos.

Y finalmente, existe El Mercado de seguros, también llamado Obamacare. Si sufres una interrupción en tus ingresos, bajos ingresos, puedes reunir los requisitos para los subsidios del Mercado. Sin duda, deberías investigar eso también. Y en el Mercado de seguros encontrarás diferentes tipos de pólizas. Así que, si no tienes mucho dinero, puedes optar por una póliza básica hasta que consigas otro trabajo. Pero esta cuestión va más al asunto principal de que las coberturas de salud están conectadas a nuestros trabajos.

Y espero que, yo soy una mujer de fe, y rezo para que el coronavirus haya puesto en evidencia los problemas de nuestra economía, nuestra cobertura de salud, nuestra seguridad laboral y que finalmente llegamos al punto de darnos cuenta de que no podemos tener una población en la que el trabajo está conectado a nuestra cobertura de salud, y es por eso que los afroamericanos corremos en desventaja porque los trabajos que solemos tener no tienen cobertura de salud o no tienen buena cobertura de salud. Y demás, pero hay opciones.

 Está COBRA, está Medicaid, y luego está el Mercado de seguros, y eso significa que tienes tarea para hacer, pero vale la pena para que puedas estar seguro de continuar teniendo la cobertura de salud para tu familia.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: ¿Puedo agregar algo a eso?

JEAN SETZFAND: Por favor.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: ¿Puedo agregar algo, Jean? También existe una red de salud comunitaria llamada Centros de Salud Federalmente Calificados, o FQHC, y, si no tienes cobertura, puedes atenderte en un FQHC. Normalmente habrá un copago y el copago se basa en tus ingresos, pero también puedes atenderte de esa manera si estás desempleado.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias por esa información también. Federalmente calificados. ¿Qué es la S? ¿La S de qué es, perdón?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: FQHC, Centros de Salud Federalmente Calificados.

JEAN SETZFAND: Ah, centros de salud. FQHC, Centros de Salud Federalmente Calificados. Muchas gracias. Y mientras hablamos de eso, uno de mis colegas me envió una información sobre la última llamada en relación con el apoyo a la salud mental. Para quienes están interesados en recibir apoyo de la Línea directa nacional de salud mental, el número es 800-662-4357, repito el número es 800-662-4357. La Línea directa nacional de salud mental. Bien, volvamos a—

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: ¿Puedo agregar algo rápido, Jean?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí.

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Si vas a la página de los CDC, y haces clic en "estrés y superación", hay unos números allí. La Línea directa de emergencia para desastres naturales y la línea directa nacional de violencia doméstica. Los CDC son una fuente de información.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Otra gran fuente de acceso, los CDC para el estrés y la superación. Muchas gracias.

Bien, Mike, ¿a quién tenemos en nuestra siguiente llamada?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. Nuestra próxima llamada es de Philippe.

JEAN SETZFAND: Philippe, hola. ¿Cuál es su pregunta?

PHILIPPE: Hola. Hola, mi nombre es Philippe y estoy llamando desde Minnesota. Soy un funcionario electo local en Minneapolis, y represento un área que es principalmente de gente de color, con la mayoría de ellos negros, y lo que nos dimos cuenta es que algunos de ellos no están siguiendo las recomendaciones sobre el distanciamiento físico, sobre el uso de mascarillas, y demás. Y se me ocurrió preguntar si tienen algún consejo sobre cómo comunicarse con la comunidad de color, sobre cómo poder mantenerse saludable y que tomen esto en serio.

JEAN SETZFAND: Buena pregunta, Philippe. Un funcionario electo. Comencemos con Clarence, a ver si él tiene algún consejo de otros miembros, y luego también le preguntaremos a los demás panelistas también. ¿Clarence?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, muchas gracias. Agradezco su llamada. Este es un elemento importante que debemos abordar y asegurarnos de que la información correcta llegue a la comunidad afroamericana en Minneapolis, y cada una de las comunidades ya que se ha compartido información no del todo precisa. En torno a eso, que esto no afectará a los afroamericanos, y ya hemos visto que eso no es verdad. Un par de cosas.

Primero, el Gobierno local es el nivel de Gobierno más confiable. Y hay que usarlo para comunicar y para asegurarnos De que la información se envíe directamente a la comunidad afroamericana. Y luego, creo que hay que ver a las figuras importantes de la comunidad negra en Minneapolis. Ya sean sus ministros, ya sean sus docentes, ya sean sus doctores o cualquier proveedor de salud, y utilizar las redes sociales como una forma de llegar a esas comunidades.

También debo decirles que hemos hablamos y sí que muchos afroamericanos quizás entiendan esto porque trabajan en sectores de la industria del servicio. Ya sea que trabajen en Home Depot, Walmart u otros negocios, ya sea que trabajen aún en restaurantes que hacen comida para llevar. Ya sean conductores, medios de transporte, Uber, Lyft. Parte de esto se debe a que a veces somos necesarios, a pesar de que no queramos ir a trabajar porque puede ser el único trabajo que tengo-- que tienen. Así que creo que juntarnos en una videollamada con algunos de esos líderes. Utilizar tu rol como miembro del consejo para juntar a la gente y para usar estrategias de comunicación para que se corra la voz, en términos simples, que muestre en incremento de la comunidad afroamericana y que si no te lo tomas en serio, no solo vas a perder la vida, sino que puedes perder la vida de todos tus familiares.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: ¿Puedo agregar algo rápido?

JEAN SETZFAND: Por supuesto.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Porque creo que es una gran pregunta, porque es una cultura, creo fue que lo dijo el Dr. Brooks al principio. Yo soy de abrazar, por naturaleza, y formo parte de una iglesia enorme, y nos abrazamos cada vez que rezamos. Nos abrazábamos y, cuando esto comenzó, yo pensaba "yo con el codo estoy bien", o era difícil que los compañeros no lo hagan porque es parte de nosotros. ¿Sabes? Y mi pastor al final dijo: "Bien, escuchen, tenemos que practicar esto". Así que creo que es muy importante, especialmente para las comunidades de color, donde sabemos que hay muchas organizaciones religiosas e iglesias, que se junten con los pastores y los líderes de la iglesia para hacer llegar el mensaje a todos porque, seamos honestos, muchas de nuestras comunidades no confían en el gobierno, y tienen sus razones.

 Y si quieres que el mensaje le llegue a la gente, tiene que ir con las personas en las que ellos confían. Como nuestros doctores, nuestros abogados, nuestros líderes religiosos, nuestros pastores. Tienes que juntarlos a todos y darles la información correcta para que ellos se la pasen a la gente porque personalmente creo que cuando mi pastor dijo: "Bueno, todos, dejen de abrazarse", recién ahí la gente dejó de abrazarse.

JEAN SETZFAND: Bien, muchas gracias, Michelle. Creo que escuchar a muchos de los líderes locales y repetidas veces es importante para un mensaje coherente. Creo que definitivamente en términos de lo que vemos, en términos de encuestas, los líderes locales son probablemente las personas de más confianza. Así que apoyo a Clarence en eso. ¿Hay alguien más por allí que quiera agregar algo a este punto?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Aquí el Dr. Brooks, me gustaría de nuevo, es un tema tan, tan clave. Al principio, había rumores de que los afroamericanos no podían contraer COVID por causa de la melanina, o algo así. Ese era un rumor. Y hablaba antes con expertos, que expertos estadounidenses siguen encontrando folletos que les han dado que dicen: "la COVID-19 es una farsa, no te vacunes". Así que está ahí fuera. Hay mensajes en contra de la autoconversación. Creo que lo que se dijo, el mensaje tiene que venir de afroamericanos a afroamericanos de una manera apropiada a la cultura, que la cosa es real, y para mí, es doblemente real porque nos estamos muriendo, no es solo real, sino que nos estamos muriendo a tasas más altas. Así que el mensaje debe darse. Fuerte y viniendo de las organizaciones de fe, pero también de médicos negros. Por lo tanto, la NMA apoya firmemente el mensaje.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Gracias a todos, por los consejos claros, basados en la cultura, de múltiples líderes, enviar mensajes consistentes. Muchas gracias. Bien, nos vamos acercando al final, pero vamos a escuchar algunas llamadas más. Mike, ¿a quién tenemos en línea?

MIKE WATSON: Hola, Jean. Nuestra siguiente pregunta es de Michelle, desde Facebook, y preguntó: "¿Cómo podemos abordar el acceso al alimento para personas mayores que viven en desiertos de alimentos?"

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien. Gran pregunta. Clarence, te la paso a ti. Ya has hablado de esto varias veces. ¿Cómo podemos ayudar a esta oyente de Facebook a tener acceso al alimento en un desierto alimenticio?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Sí, creo que es una pregunta muy buena y no está siendo nada fácil para los funcionarios electos poder juntar los recursos necesarios, pero una de las cosas que vemos es que, incluso cuando se trata de niños, los líderes locales están proporcionando tres comidas al día. Tener gente, repito, esto es un desafío del transporte, tener una instalación allí donde puedas ir y buscar la comida. Los líderes locales están trabajando con las iglesias para poder entregar la comida a las personas mayores en estos tiempos. Y también hay varias fraternidades y hermandades en las comunidades afroamericanas que trabajan con los alcaldes y los miembros del Congreso para ayudar a conseguir la comida y los recursos necesarios para los mayores en sus comunidades. Y te diré algo más sobre esto, estaba hablando por teléfono, probablemente, en alguna videollamada, hablando con los líderes, y una de las cosas que debo decir es que se me vino a la mente mientras ustedes hablaban de quién envía el mensaje. Tengo que decirles que los alcaldes, los miembros del Congreso, los funcionarios electos son humanos, y también vemos que ellos corren riesgos. Vemos que les quita el sueño lo que sucede en sus comunidades, y la población de personas mayores es uno de esas áreas difíciles en las que están trabajando duro para poder proporcionar el servicio. Tengo esperanza de que se contactarán con sus líderes locales, los de confianza, y dirán: "Si no lo estás consiguiendo, ¿’qué puedes hacer por mí para conseguirlo para los mayores?'"

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias. Gracias, gracias por estos consejos y también por recordarnos que los líderes locales están trabajando en nombre de las poblaciones vulnerables y de los mayores también. Estamos llegando al final de nuestro evento, y me encantaría cerrar con algunas reflexiones finales de nuestros distinguidos panelistas. Comencemos con Michelle. Michelle, alguna reflexión final o recomendación para nuestros oyentes esta noche o para los socios de AARP. ¿Qué deberían llevarse de la charla de hoy?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Creo que hemos hablado sobre muchas cuestiones y problemas, pero me gustaría aportar un poco de esperanza. Creo firmemente que todo esto pasará. Que si estás sufriendo, has perdido el trabajo o quizás tu cuidador está con algunos problemas, que intentes buscar la ayuda que necesites. Te aseguro que hay muchos de nosotros intentando ayudarte. Pero sobre todo, asegúrate de acudir a las buenas fuentes de información. No escuches a esa persona que te llama por teléfono, o ese mensaje de difusión. Ve a AARP, ingresa a www.washingtonpost.com, estamos trabajando 14 horas por día, no es broma, para poder brindarte la información correcta. Y están pasando muchas cosas, muchas cosas no están saliendo bien, pero somos muchos. Doctores, abogados y los políticos, la mayoría de ellos, que están intentando ayudarte.

Sé paciente, pero confía que al final, esto terminará, y cuando termine, e incluso si tienes problemas financieros, quizás perdiste tu casa, quizás tuviste que mudarte con alguien más. Y al final de todo, hay quienes estamos dispuestos a ayudarte a restablecerte financieramente. Hemos superado la crisis inmobiliaria, y si eres afroamericano, sabes que hemos superado muchas cosas, allí desde la esclavitud. Esto lo superaremos, pero hay que ser inteligente y acudir y pedir ayuda cuando la necesites.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias, Michelle. Dr. Brooks, ¿alguna reflexión final para nuestros oyentes hoy?

DR. OLIVER TATE BROOKS: Primero, voy a sumarme a todo lo que dijo Michelle, lo ha explicado de manera [INDISCERNIBLE]. Me gustaría volver a algo que dijo. Sean pacientes. Yo voy a trabajar todos los días, así que soy parte de los trabajadores esenciales que tiene que salir. Veo más tráfico en las autopistas ahora, nada ha cambiado en California. No ha habido ni un solo cambio en casa, todo lo demás, cubrirte al toser, solo los trabajadores esenciales. Pero veo que la gente se está relajando un poco, yo les diría, especialmente a, digamos, la población AARP, el factor de riesgo número uno es la edad. Ese es el que no podemos controlar. Así que yo diría que seamos pacientes. Yo a mi nieta la amo, le doy solo ese abrazo, solo uno. No. Mantén la guardia alta. El virus es furtivo. Sí, se llama un nuevo coronavirus, porque lo es. No hemos descubierto cómo funciona. Así que yo diría que seamos pacientes. Mantengan la guardia alta, pero al final, y exactamente lo que dijo Michelle: "Todo esto pasará".

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, Dr. Brooks. Clarence, el primero y el último. La palabra final. ¿Qué reflexiones finales tienes para nuestros oyentes hoy?

CLARENCE E. ANTHONY: Equipo, gracias por invitarme. Amén a lo que dijo Michelle. Me inspiró mucho lo que dijo, y me levantó el espíritu. Una de las cosas que voy a decir es que algo es seguro, y es que estamos en tiempos inciertos. Pero sabemos que, como dijo Michelle, lo vamos a superar. ¿Será todo igual? No creo que nunca vuelva a ser todo igual. Yo soy parecido. Soy de abrazar, soy de ir en busca de la gente y saludarlos con una sonrisa y un abrazo e incluso he tenido que cambiar mis modos con mis amigos y mis familiares.

Creo que, al mirar hacia adelante, tenemos que apuntar a las ciudades. Podemos ver las comunidades locales. Y tenemos que trabajar para conseguir los recursos y financiación directa para nuestros miembros, nuestra ciudad. Porque allí es donde están los pequeños negocios, allí es donde están los servicios a los mayores. Allí es donde están los recursos de salud mental. Allí es donde está el trabajo, y debemos asegurarnos de que la gente de color, al mirar los datos, obtenga los recursos necesarios para recuperarse porque si no tenemos los recursos y la atención sanitaria necesarios, esto se seguir propagando en nuestras comunidades. Y así se seguir propagando en otras comunidades porque estamos trabajando en todas las ciudades y pueblos, sin importar qué tan grandes o pequeñas sean. Y espero que podamos continuar trabajando con AARP para hacer llegar el mensaje porque estamos en tiempos inciertos, pero esto lo superaremos, y solo rezo para que todos tengamos la fuerza y la orientación para superarlo.

JEAN SETZFAND: Muchas gracias. Esta ha sido una charla tan informativa para mí, y sí que también para todos nuestros oyentes. Les agradezco mucho por todos sus consejos, su sabiduría, sus palabras de esperanza. Paciencia y persistencia, juntos luchando para salir adelante en estos tiempos difíciles. Así que gracias, gracias, gracias de nuevo por acompañarnos hoy. Y quiero agradecerles a todos nuestros oyentes, a los socios de AARP, a los voluntarios, por participar de este debate.

Y repito, si te gustaría recibir una llamada amable, Conexiones con la Comunidad de AARP tiene voluntarios entrenados esperándote. Este es, repito, un servicio gratuito para adultos, sin importar si eres socio, y también ofrecemos servicios bilingües, incluyendo español. Siéntanse libre de llamarnos al 888-281-0145. Repito, los horarios son de lunes a viernes de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m., horario del este, al 888-281-0145.

Y AARP es una organización de socios, sin fines de lucro, sin afiliación política, y trabajamos para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país hace más de 60 años. A la luz de esta crisis, para proveer información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes cuidan de ellos, que se protejan del virus y prevengan el contagio sin dejar de cuidarse a sí mismos.

Todos los recursos mencionados hoy, incluyendo la grabación de las preguntas y respuestas de hoy, las puedes encontrar en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir del 24 de abril. Que sería mañana.

Repito, el sitio web es www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Esperamos que puedan ingresar y si tu pregunta no salió hoy, encontrarás todas las actualizaciones, así como el resto de la información creada especialmente para personas mayores y cuidadores familiares. Esperamos que hayas podido aprender algo para mantener sanos a ti y a tu familia.

Recuerda sintonizarnos de nuevo el próximo jueves, nuestra próxima teleasamblea es el jueves próximo, 30 de abril a la 1 p.m., horario del este. Muchas gracias por acompañarnos, que disfrutes el resto del día.

Con esto termina nuestra llamada.

  • 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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