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April 30 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall

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

April 30 Tele-Town Hall

Coronavirus: Caring for Parents, Kids & Grandkids

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, one in five households had multiple generations living under one roof, and there were roughly 3 million grandparents caring for grandchildren. These caregivers are now feeling the added pressures of social distancing and economic uncertainty.

Experts at this live Q&A event shared tips for balancing work and self-care, and addressed the challenges of caring for older loved ones while engaging children. They also identified both online and community resources to help you find the health and monetary support you need -- telehealth, unemployment benefits, and stimulus payments. Listen to a replay of the live event below.


CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 30, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, 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 to experts about the unique challenges of caring for loved ones during the pandemic. We'll pay special attention to grandparents who are caring for grandchildren and those in the sandwich generation who are caring for children and older family members. We will also address an issue that has prompted a lot of questions recently. Stimulus checks. 

If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question about caring for parents, kids or grandkids, press *3 on your telephone to be connected to an AARP staff member who will note your name and question, and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, please press *3. 

We have three wonderful guests with us today. Joining us is Jane Strommen, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice at North Dakota State University, Kate Gallego, mayor of the city of Phoenix in Arizona and Dr. Elena Rios, M.D., president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association. We also will be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today. AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus, 24 hours after the event. Today, we're talking with experts about caring for loved ones of all ages during the global coronavirus pandemic.  

But before diving into our topic, I'd like to fill you in briefly on a few things AARP has been doing to advocate for members and all consumers. We fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will receive payments of up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. We have stood up for the most vulnerable seniors by helping to secure increased funding for critical programs like Meals on Wheels. We've also pushed to expand unemployment insurance benefits, as well as paid sick leave, virtual visitation in nursing homes and family leave for people who need to take time off to care for themselves or for loved ones. While we've been hard at work in Washington, D.C., AARP representatives across the country are also fighting for you by working with state policymakers on a range of issues.

I want to share a few examples. In Alaska and Michigan, we helped expand access to telehealth. In North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, AARP is fighting to expand paid and emergency leave for workers. In South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California and Wisconsin, AARP is working to ensure that people have access to information and needed health care related to the coronavirus, and that their leaders are addressing the underlying issues of hunger, health access, transportation and more. Finally, and very importantly, AARP state offices across the country are fighting to increase transparency about coronavirus cases and eldercare facilities like nursing homes and assisted living. They're fighting to secure sufficient protective equipment for nursing home staff and residents, bring communications technology into care facilities and making sure people aren't inappropriately discharged or transferred. All of these are important topics for older Americans, and AARP's advocacy would not be possible without the phone calls, emails and actions of AARP members and volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you. 

Now I'd like to welcome our guests. First, Jane Strommen, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice at North Dakota State University Extension. She has more than 30 years of experience working with older adults and their families in various settings, including nursing homes, assisted living, senior housing and community-based care. She's responsible for educational outreach in North Dakota in numerous areas such as fall prevention, aging well, health promotion and family caregiving. Welcome, Dr. Strommen. 

Jane Strommen: Thanks for having me. 

Bill Walsh: Thank you for being here. Second, Kate Gallego. She is the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. She is the second elected female mayor in Phoenix's history, and at 38 years old, she is the youngest big city mayor in the United States. Mayor Gallego is passionate about building a Phoenix that works for everyone and increasing the quality of life for all Phoenix residents. She has focused on three key policy areas during her time in office: diversifying the economy, strengthening infrastructure investment and working to make Phoenix a leader in sustainability. Thank you for being here, Mayor Gallego. 

Kate Gallego: Glad to join you. 

Bill Walsh: All right. And finally, Dr. Elena Rios, M.D., president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association representing Hispanic physicians in the United States. She is also president of the National Hispanic Health Foundation, affiliated with the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Dr. Rios was appointed to the Minority Alumni Hall of Fame of Stanford University and named one of the Top 100 Influential and Innovative Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. Thank you, Dr. Rios. 

Elena Rios: Glad to be here. 

Bill Walsh: Right. Thank you all for joining us today. Let's get started with our discussion. Dr. Strommen, let's start with you. What advice would you have for grandparents who are caring for grandchildren during the public health crisis? How can they help their grandchildren remain socially connected with friends and loved ones even while being physically distanced?

Jane Strommen: Thanks, Bill for that question. Just to get started, when we're talking about grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren, there are really three common roles that grandparents play. One is day care grandparents who provide regular daily care, usually to very young children. And there's “living with” grandparents, those who reside with a grandchild, but they don't have legal custody. And third is custodial grandparents and they have legal responsibility for the grandchild. So for today, we'll talk about grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, meaning that they're living together. And keeping them happy, healthy and learning during this stay-at-home order comes with some special worries. You know, older adults are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and they need to take special precautions to reduce their risk and focus on their own health and well-being. So I just have a few strategies to make this time go a little smoother for grandparents and the grandchildren. 

Now, grandparents really need to be kind to themselves and gentle about their expectations right now. And they need to remember that most of us were not prepared for this. So if they have some anxieties, some fear, worry, these are all normal. Embrace a schedule. We know that most children of all ages thrive when they have some predictable routines. So if you have grandchildren that are preschool age or older, have them help in developing a daily schedule. Another point would be talk to your grandchildren about COVID-19. There are age-appropriate resources available to guide these important discussions. Reach out to the school. There's a lot of uncertainty about the return to school, and many grandparents are fretting about not being able to help their grandchildren. So don't be afraid to ask for support. And last, is take care of your health. You know, eat well, sleep, get enough exercise, manage stress. And even if it seems impossible, try to find some time for yourself. 

So regarding keeping the grandchildren socially connected, it's really guided by their age, their interests and the nature of their relationships with other family members and friends. So here are just a few ideas. Now you could use FaceTime and have other loved ones read stories to younger grandchildren. You could celebrate birthdays and holidays with some Zoom parties, or you can enjoy a virtual meal with relatives. Arrange virtual play dates for younger children, perhaps allowing older grandchildren to attend virtual concerts with their friends. This group is pretty savvy at staying connected with their friends. And then last but not least, call family and friends on the old-fashioned phone to stay connected. 

Bill Walsh: Yeah, it's a good point. It occurred to me as I was listening to you, that maybe the grandchildren have something to teach their grandparents about staying socially connected while they're physically distancing.

Jane Strommen: Absolutely. 

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you for that. Mayor Gallego. I wanted to ask you how local governments and businesses are helping support people who are caring for loved ones during the pandemic. What do you see in Phoenix and other communities that our listeners should know about? 

Kate Gallego: Both local governments and our businesses have really tried to step up and support people in what, for many, may be among the most difficult challenges they have ever faced. And I guess first, I just want to say thank you to everyone who's staying home and slowing the spread of COVID-19. As a country we have bent the curve and slowed the spread of this terrible virus in our community. That is saving lives, and I think we don't spend enough time saying “thank you” to people who are making enormous sacrifices so that we can save American lives. So I wanted to start with that. 

I would encourage you to look to your local governments as key sources of information. Almost every city on their homepage has information about resources and many are quite broad. So cities are displaying information about senior and vulnerable-population hours at grocery stores. So many grocery stores have hours, which are particularly focused for older adults, and you can find out about that directly from them or from your cities. And many cities will also share information about how you can get services delivered, whether it be food or other support. Many are offering recreation online and really trying to step up. We talked about FaceTime stories and staying connected online. Local governments are, in some communities, purchasing tablets to help a variety of different groups, whether it be people in nursing homes or families at home, stay connected. We are trying to get people who don't have internet more access right now. I am the mother of a 3-year-old right now, and I am trying to keep him learning and educated and get him those great resources while he's not going to what most people would call day care, but we call school. 

Bill Walsh: How are you doing that and serving as mayor at the same time? 

Kate Gallego: Well, he's at daddy day care right now, so that I can give my full attention to this important AARP conversation, but my 3-year-old has made an appearance on many, many Zoom calls, as has the dog. I have learned that they are both more popular than the mayor. But it's a real challenge. My parents used to take care of my son every day, and since COVID has started, that's not something we've been able to do. I am still working and so exposed to the virus, and I don't want to be the one who spreads it to my family. So we've had to be connected through technology instead of in person. And that's been really hard, and it's something, for all of you who are taking care of people right now, I just want to give you my complete sympathy. The family member who held my hand when my son was born has been in the hospital and because of no visitors, I've been stuck with FaceTime. It is not the same, but it is sure better than nothing, and so I'm grateful for states and local governments that are trying to enable that connectivity for those who don't already have it. For those who do, I would definitely encourage you to use it. I think many people had amusing experiences over Passover, Easter and other holidays where it may not be the same as family traditions, but it sure is among the most memorable. And so I hope there've been a few good memories during these difficult times.

Bill Walsh: I think we're all learning to roll with the punches and be flexible and resilient during this time. Dr. Strommen, I wanted to follow up with something that Mayor Gallego kind of opened the door to, and that was about how people can balance work, caring for an older loved one while caring for children whose schools or childcare centers are closed and maybe closed for some time. 

Jane Strommen: Well, that's a great question. And those caregivers who are caring for their own young children and older family members are called the sandwich-generation caregivers, and they're juggling multiple responsibilities: school, work, childcare, other tasks of daily life, in addition to caring for an older adult. So when it becomes really difficult to balance all this caregiving with the demands of life, they can easily get overwhelmed and stressed. So the need to balance life and caregiving becomes really important for their own health and well-being.

So just a few things that I would recommend to those people who are caring for children and older family members is really set some clear boundaries. You know, state what you can and cannot do and know that it's OK to say no sometimes. People are not superhuman beings. And they need to determine their own needs. You know whether it's taking a 15-minute walk or a regular video chat with friends, and really be firm about making those things happen. 

Another point would be to prioritize the things that are really important, those activities, and drop those nonessential activities from the list. Now is not the time to put extra pressure on yourself, and so be flexible and use any approaches to simplify life right now. Another biggie is ask for help. Don't be reluctant to enlist the help of other relatives, friends, neighbors, fellow church members. Kids can pitch in, too, with household chores. You know, there may be other family members who can't provide the primary care right now, but they can do other things like managing finances or maybe providing some transportation to medical appointments.

Another important point is reach out to schools or senior centers for information on alternate ways to get meals. Both have changed the way that they deliver nutritious meals to older adults and children right now. Another important thing is to communicate, whether providing regular updates to other family members, you can use things like email, text groups, Google Drive documents, apps, what is called Lots of Helping Hands, just so everyone stays on the same page. 

Another important thing is to plan ahead. You know caregiving can last years and even decades, so it's important to take the time to research what supports are out there, such as respite care and adult day care in the community and their costs. Talk to your employer. Check if there's any option for working from home or flexibility to work some different hours. What kind of benefits does your employer have for paid or unpaid leave? And then last would be to, you know, seek some balance. We really need to be flexible and focus on the needs of your family and yourself. And you'll know that each day and each week will be different and that's OK. 

Bill Walsh: Thank you so much, Dr. Strommen, for that. There was a lot of great advice there. Now as you were talking, I was reminded, on aarp.org/coronavirus we have a lot of resources for the 40 million family caregivers in this country, including how to create a caregiving plan before an emergency happens. And it hits on a number of the points that Dr. Strommen touched on as well. So thank you for sharing that. Dr. Rios, so I'd like to bring you into the conversation. What should someone do if a child or grandchild tests positive for COVID-19? If an older adult is their primary caregiver or lives in the same home, how can they safely quarantine while trying not to get sick?

Elena Rios: Well, let me answer the first question first. If there is a positive patient who is your child or grandchild, it's important, just like any other patient, to make sure that the grandmother or the grandfather understands the health care provider's instructions, especially for medications that will help the fever or the cough associated with the COVID-19 virus. And also, just to make sure that you're aware that the patient could get worse, the child, and it's important to understand that the worsening symptom has really been shortness of breath. And shortness of breath for children that have asthma, it may come faster and be an exacerbation of their asthma. But for the children who do not have asthma, and all of a sudden have a shortness of breath that they had never experienced before, usually ends up having a little bit of anxiety, and your heart rate and your respiratory rate gets faster. And I think it's important for deep breathing and for grandparents to watch the patient more closely if they are short of breath. And if there is any indication that the patient is not able to calm down, the grandparents should call the doctor, the health care provider or the clinic, or even 9-1-1 if you have to. If you do call 9-1-1 though, it's important to make sure that the dispatcher knows that it is a COVID-19 patient.

And then the second question about how to take care of your own quarantine, you need to be away from the child as much as possible. We call it social distancing, being 6 feet away from the patient as much as possible, and actually being in another room, making sure that the house has air flow so that the air is going out the window as much as possible. And then, I guess the most important thing, too, for the patient and the grandmother or caregiver, is to continually keep things clean, washing your hands, not touching your face, cleaning doorknobs, disinfecting areas where the child may have been playing to keep the virus as much as possible away from yourself, from the grandmother and grandparents. The indication now is if you're over 2 years old, children over 2 years old who have the COVID virus should be wearing a mask. A face mask is just another way of protecting the grandmother, the grandparents. So I think that's important. So I'll stop there. And the CDC has COVID information.

Bill Walsh: It's a lot of good advice. It's such a tricky situation, right? Because older adults are so susceptible to the bad effects of COVID and yet, frequently they are the frontline caregivers to young children as well, so they have to be vigilant and take the kinds of precautions that you talked about. So thank you for that. I also want to take a moment just to provide a special thanks to you and your members, Dr. Rios, and all the health care workers out there for their dedication, hard work and bravery in combating this pandemic. It's a real service to the nation. I'd like to turn to our callers. So let's take some calls for Dr. Jane Strommen, Mayor Kate Gallego and Dr. Elena Rios. I'd like to introduce my colleague, Jean Setzfand, to help facilitate your call today. Welcome, Jean. 

Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill. I'm delighted to be here for this conversation. 

Bill Walsh: All right, well let's get to our first question. Who do we have? 

Jean Setzfand: We have Donna from Maryland. 

Bill Walsh: OK, Donna, go ahead and ask your question. 

Donna: Hi. I have custody of my three grandchildren, and I'm 71 with underlying health conditions. But my question is, and the last lady that just talked answered some of them, which I had pretty much figured anyway, but once they get out and they're doing things and stuff, when they come back in to the home should they take, I mean, if they're not infected with it, they could be asymptomatic. So, do I make them take a shower? I mean, I don't know how to deal with it once they get out of here. 

Bill Walsh: Yeah, I hear you. So even for a kid who may be asymptomatic, you're asking, what should they be doing? They're going to be coming and going from the house, maybe playing with friends. Dr. Strommen, do you want to address that, and maybe Dr. Rios weigh in, as well? 

Jane Strommen: Yes, for children coming and going I think that grandparents need to stay informed and understand all the precautions that they need to take to protect themselves, because we know that they are at greater risk. And if they are living in the home, it becomes a great challenge. I really would look to the health care providers for information on the things that they need to do as far as the laundry and cleaning and those types of things. So I think I would look to Dr. Rios for providing some of those more detailed instructions to grandparents. 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Rios, can you weigh in on some best practices for Donna in Maryland?

Elena Rios: Yeah, I really think it's important to know who the child is hanging out with, per se, and I think that most families right now are being told to not to have their children socializing with others. Try to keep them within the boundaries of your home and outside, just like everybody is being told for social distancing. So the less contact with other friends and other families is important right now. And, so with that, if they're not really in contact with other others, they have less of a chance of getting sick. I think the important thing is for them, the best practices really are just washing your hands and not touching your face, and using your own cups and glasses and plates and that type of thing. You know, just try to minimize contact with others. Maybe not sharing towels, that type of thing. So you have three different kids and you never know what's going to happen. If one gets sick, they'll all get sick, right? So, I think it is important just to monitor them and to let them know not to be out with friends. 

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you very much for that. Jean, do we have another caller on the line? 

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we have Faye from Ohio. 

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

Faye: Thank you for taking my call. Well, I think you guys basically have kind of answered it. It was about the grandkids. I haven't seen mine, unfortunately, in almost two months, and my question basically was, let's see, they're lifting some things here in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm not going to go out, but I want to have them over. Now I'm 61. I don't have any medical conditions that I know of, and they're only around their parents. And my question was, when I have them in the house, should I continue to wear a mask? I mean, I don't wear my mask in the house. I've only gone out a couple of times to the grocery store in almost like eight weeks. And my question is do I wear a mask? And should I have them wear one only in the house? I'm not going to take them out anywhere. 

Bill Walsh: Right. Well, Dr. Rios, do you want to give some advice there? And maybe Mayor Gallego, I know you have a young child, maybe you want to weigh in on that as well?

Elena Rios: Yeah, I'll just say that the CDC just doesn't have any official recommendation on wearing masks inside your home. I mean, unless you are COVID positive; that patient should wear a mask. That's as far as I would take it right now. 

Bill Walsh: So your answer there is only the person who's been diagnosed with COVID should be wearing the mask. 

Elena Rios: Right. Right. 

Bill Walsh: Hmm. OK. Mayor Gallego did you want to weigh in on that question from Faye in Cincinnati?

Kate Gallego: Yeah, absolutely. So I am, as I mentioned, the mother of a 3-year-old. The CDC says that both 3-year-olds and their mothers should be wearing masks when they are out. God bless those mothers who can get a 3-year-old to wear a mask. I do not have that particular skill of persuasion. So we've been trying to, as much as possible, not go anywhere with him where he would be in contact with people. So he does come out with me when we're walking the dog, but when I've gone grocery shopping, he's not been with me, he's been with his dad. Just 'cause I don't think I can get him not to touch surfaces … we're doing better about washing hands. I've done some questions with local young kids, and one of the questions they asked me was, "What song do you, as the mayor, sing when you wash your hands to make sure you do it for the full 20 seconds?" So in case anyone cares, I'm on "Happy Birthday" right now. 

Bill Walsh: That gets old fast. 

Kate Gallego: Well, it was my brother's birthday, and so we've sung "Happy Birthday" to him — his birthday was last week — so many times, even though he is not actually present for it. I have had good luck — PBS Kids put out some information about how to talk about the virus in an age-appropriate way with kids, and that has been very useful to me. There was also a project out of Harvard that talks about, it has different resources, including in multiple different languages, for talking about COVID. And that has been helpful for me. My biology teacher would be upset with me, but we've started calling it the big germ and just talking to him — we have to do things differently with the big germ. But I think it has been important for him to understand that things have changed and the reason we're not going to play on the playground is that we are fighting what we call the big germ, but the COVID virus, right now. 

Bill Walsh: Interesting. Well, whatever works, right? All right, well, Jean, let's take another question. Who do we have on the line? 

Jean Setzfand: We have June from Florida. 

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

June: I am 67 years old, and I have two grandchildren, young grandchildren who I'm missing. They're 2 and 4 years old. And my question to you is, we're all being very careful, basically quarantining and have been for five or six weeks. Do you think it's safe for me to be around those kids?

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Rios, do you want to weigh in on that? 

Elena Rios: Well, yeah, at some point, you just have to weigh the risks. I think every local public health department is keeping everything closed. Little by little, they will be reopening. But if your grandchildren are just at home and you're at home, less chance of them having much contact right now with anything. But I think as things open, like the Mayor said, they're going to be going to the supermarkets with their parents too, and they're going to be going to restaurants. So you'll actually have a better chance right now of not getting sick having them over now before everything starts opening.

Bill Walsh: OK. What precautions should she take if she does invite the grandkids over? What practical steps should she be taking? 

Elena Rios: Oh, well, everybody's using FaceTime and in terms of connecting with their grandchildren, you mean? I think that's ...

Bill Walsh: Yeah, she hasn't seen her grandkids and would like to. So if you're trying to set up an in-person meeting, what should she be doing?

Elena Rios: I think having them over to the house. I think that's important — to your house is probably best. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Jean, I understand you have another question for us. 

Jean Setzfand: Yes, I have a question from Facebook. This is coming from Denise, and the question is, "Once they've decided to gradually reopen things, how does a senior decide when it'd be OK to resume caring for their young grandchildren?"

Bill Walsh: Mayor Gallego, I wonder if you could weigh in on that since there's so many public officials weighing this question about reopening these days. 

Kate Gallego: We are certainly facing that. Our governor yesterday extended our stay-at-home order. Some of the advice that I have gotten from our public health officials is that for our older adults, you're going to need to be cautious even longer than some other groups of individuals. So the CDC and the President's plan for reopening has more protections for people who are older or who have respiratory challenges or just any underlying health conditions. In my personal family, I have parents who have real health challenges, and so as much as it has been very, very difficult for us, I think we are going to have to wait longer before we are physically together, and it's been frankly harder than I thought. But I think I have to, in my own personal life, put public health and my parents' health first before taking those risks. And I would encourage you, if you do have access to the internet and are interested, I think it is worth reading the guidelines for reopening America. Not every state is following them, but that gives you some sort of sense of when things are going to be happening and what they would look like. It talks about certain types of businesses, manufacturing and construction, opening earlier, restaurants opening, but bar areas with more density not. And I found that helpful as the most likely road map, which won't be the same in every state, but it gives you a little bit of understanding and maybe can help you plan.

Bill Walsh: Right. Think about those scenarios that could be unfolding, and when it comes down to that individual choice and what kind of risks they are willing to tolerate. 

Kate Gallego: And if you have the ability to talk with your doctor about your personal situation, I think that is valuable as well. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who's the next caller we have on the line? 

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Deborah from California. 

Bill Walsh: All right, Deborah, go ahead. Ask your question. 

Deborah: Yes, good morning. Thank you so much for this. I am a 64-year-old senior who is the custodial grandparent of an 8-year-old. And we've been practicing social distancing rigorously, but I'm really worried about school. His school is looking at reopening, and I have to decide soon whether or not I'm going to send him back. And I'm really wondering, is it safe for me to do that? He's only 8 years old. 

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Well, that's a tough one. Dr. Strommen, do you have something to say on that? 

Jane Strommen: That can be a worry for grandparents and parents who are wondering about the safety of these young ones going back to school. I guess one of the first things I would be wondering about, what is the school's policy? How are they going to be protecting these kids, that social distancing? What kind of precautions are they are putting in place to try to lower the risk of contracting COVID? I would be asking the school administration those types of questions. Also another question would be, what are the alternatives? If you don't feel safe about sending your child or grandchild back to school, what are the alternatives? Can they continue classes virtually? Could there be some paper packets of their schoolwork sent home? So I would definitely be exploring with the school what those options are, should you choose not to send your grandchild back to school at this time? 

Bill Walsh: Right. And I imagine other parents in the school district would be a good resource and maybe the PTA, as well. I mean, they're parents and they are, no doubt, highly sensitive to sending their own kids back at a time like this.

Jane Strommen: Absolutely. 

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that, Dr. Strommen. And thanks for all of those questions. We're going to be taking more questions in just a moment. But let's talk for a moment about the issue of stimulus payments. AARP's received a lot of questions from our members about when they should expect their checks, and what, if anything, they need to do. As you know, federal lawmakers enacted a $2 trillion economic stimulus package on [March] 27. It is sending most Americans checks up to $1,200 or up to $2,400 for most married couples. We know that Social Security recipients, including those on disability, are eligible to receive the $1,200 check and will not have to file any additional paperwork. We understand that those checks should be arriving this week. Likewise, people who receive SSI or VA benefits are eligible to receive the $1,200 check and will not have to file any additional paperwork. That's very good news, and the IRS estimates that stimulus payments will be issued to VA beneficiaries by mid-May.

Also, if you've paid income taxes in 2018 or 2019 via direct deposit, you do not need to do anything and should be receiving your check. But there are a few unique circumstances that we're still learning about, and I'd like to just cover them very quickly here. First, if you receive VA or SSI benefits and have a dependent child, to claim the extra $500, you will need to visit irs.gov by May 5 and fill out their online form for non-filers. That deadline is next Tuesday. 

Second, we understand that some deceased Social Security beneficiaries received the stimulus payment and that some of you have questions about what to do with those payments. AARP has raised this issue repeatedly with the IRS, which has not yet issued clear guidance for taxpayers. As soon as the IRS provides guidance on this issue, we will alert consumers on aarp.org/coronavirus. Finally, if you did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019 and don't receive Social Security, VA, or SSI benefits, you will need to fill out a simple IRS form to receive your payment. You can visit irs.gov and search for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” For everyone, to estimate your stimulus payment, you can use AARP's stimulus payment calculator on aarp.org/coronavirus. And to check your payment status and fill out necessary forms, go to irs.gov. 

And while the Social Security Administration is not able to answer questions related to the economic stimulus payments, your local Social Security office can be an excellent resource for guidance and support, especially if you need to talk with someone or if you have a dire need. To access contact information for your local office, go to ssa.gov/locator, or call the national toll-free line, 1-800-772-1213 and use voice prompts to receive a local Social Security office telephone number. 

Finally, please know that the federal government is not verifying your personal information, including your Social Security number. If you receive calls or emails requesting personal information related to stimulus payments, it's very likely a scam. So be on the lookout for that. 

Now let's hear more from our experts. Dr. Rios, how has the coronavirus pandemic affected the Hispanic/Latino community? Are there specific challenges for people who are caring for loved ones?

Elena Rios: Oh, that's a great question. I think, it's been in the news about our communities that are most vulnerable, especially racial/ethnic communities or rural communities, communities that are marginalized, that don't have the same access to information because the breadwinner is working two or three jobs, or they're working in low paying jobs, or working in an industry where they have to go to work. They're not social distancing. And they may pick up the virus faster than other communities, and that's what's happening in our African American communities and Hispanic communities, and for our communities, in general. We just saw on the news the meat packing plants, and I think it's the same thing happening with our frontline supermarket workers and others. 

And then the other thing with our communities and our families — I'm from the Los Angeles area, where I grew up, and all my uncles and aunts and cousins are Mexican-American and all had big families. And you see those that have working poor, I'll call it working poor, live in intergenerational families with grandparents and the parents and children. And just like we're talking about grandparents here, I think it's important to realize that having more people in a house also helps the virus spread faster to more people. So I think that's the biggest impact. 

Now, specific challenges are that not being able to social distance as I mentioned, but also not getting the information in Spanish. And I think that's something that, for us, for the National Hispanic Medical Association, we have collected information in Spanish. CDC.gov also has information in Spanish. And we need to get more information through Spanish media. I have seen some of our doctors have actually been interviewed on different networks in major cities on TV, but I think the radio and the small ethnic newspapers also need to have more basic information that we're talking about today. And that's part of the challenge. With these challenges where we need more information to the vulnerable communities, the opportunity is that as we move into testing and trying to educate more people, there will be jobs available from the public health sector. Our local public health departments are going to have to either hire or have volunteers who get involved with that, and it's going to be important to have, especially in places like Phoenix and other areas where we have lots of Hispanic families, it will be important to have community workers and students from the local area that might be interested in health care and health careers, in becoming a doctor or a nurse. So it's a challenge, but it's also to think about the next phase of what's about to happen this summer. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much for that. Mayor Gallego, I wanted to touch on something that we've heard from our members during previous tele-town halls, and that is about the shortage of food, especially healthy food. Many family caregivers are helping loved ones access food, but food banks are experiencing long lines and short supplies, and news reports indicate that it won't get better anytime soon. What's being done at the local level to ensure that people who need access to food and essential nutrition are able to retain that access and stay protected from the virus?

Kate Gallego: That is a very important question and we know one of the most important things we can do to slow the spread is make sure people can get healthy supply without having to go out into higher risk situations. Phoenix is the proud home of the world's first food bank. John van Hengel founded St. Mary's Food Bank here in 1967. His idea was a food bank or individuals in the companies with excess food could deposit it, and those in need could "withdraw" it. Today, of course, our food banks are struggling. Many are prioritizing seniors and other vulnerable populations to serve first and, as best I can find, all our offering contactless drive-through services to try to reduce risk. But we also know that delivery can be very important. 

One of my tough decisions I was part of was closing our senior centers here in Phoenix. You know, I ran for office wanting to do more and improve our senior centers, and it never occurred to me that I might be in my first year as mayor closing down senior centers. One of the real concerns when we did that was not only are senior centers important for people seeing friends and being able to be out in the community, but they provide nutritious meals to our residents.

Bill Walsh: Right. 

Kate Gallego: So I'm proud of our staff's ability to pivot quickly and to move to a meal-delivery service. We are now delivering multiple frozen meals at once so that people can still get that nutritious meal, and then we're also coupling it with phone check-ins just to see how people are doing, share information about resources. We've also mentioned if you're bored at home, if you could take your census, we would appreciate that. And then, we've seen great partnerships with our area agency on aging with emergency food boxes to distribute to homebound seniors. The St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is piloting a program with Amazon to deliver an emergency food box to homebound seniors. They have a supply chain that is more robust than ours. And so if we can use it to keep people well served with good nutritious food, that is important. We're also doing a regular mobile senior food box distribution throughout our community, and those are good boxes that have, at the moment, bread, fresh produce, dairy and animal protein. 

I also think that that local communities can be involved in advocacy. Mayors have been a strong voice at the federal level to try to get more money for SNAP benefits. SNAP is a program you might know as food stamps, and AARP has been an amazing partner in that. Cities have done a great job redeploying staff whose former jobs were no longer needed. And nonprofits have stepped up, so there was, in Flint, Michigan, a medical transport nonprofit redeployed their staff and vehicles to ensure their clients are getting adequate nutrition. The vans used to move people, but now they're moving healthy food.

Bill Walsh: Right. Well that's great to hear, and of course, Mayor Gallego, you represent a large urban area. Dr. Strommen, I wanted to ask you about rural areas where we're seeing increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19. I wonder what the different resources are that are needed and available for family caregivers when we compare rural communities with more densely populated areas?

Jane Strommen: Thanks for that question. You know, when we think about the services that caregivers really need to be able to do their job, it's a wide array, and they really fall into maybe about four categories just to kind of explain it. And the first one is things that help the caregiver manage the logistics of that caregiving experience. Whether it's care coordination or management that people have assisted technology and equipment information referral systems. A second is really that direct support in providing care for their loved ones, whether it's adult day care, dementia care, homemaker, chore services, personal care, those types of things. A third area would be services that really help that caregiver do their task of providing care. It might be meal services that we just talked about, transportation, volunteer services or training and education. And the last is really around fostering the well-being of the caregiver, whether it's emotional support or respite care.

So when you're looking at the rural communities in comparison to urban communities, I'm going to reference a study that we did here in North Dakota in 2016. It was a Family Caregiver Services and Support Study. And one of the findings from this study really showed a lack of appropriate and available services, especially in rural areas. Caregivers reported really insufficient access to respite care, and that was probably the most significant concern from the study. And we know that respite care is so important for caregivers to get a break from the continuing caregiving responsibilities. And so, without that break, there's that risk of caregivers burning out. 

So, in addition, to respite care, the study also found gaps in other direct care services like personal care, adult day care and dementia care, and the homemaker and chore services. Really, it was a lack of available workforce or people to really fill these types of jobs that was often cited as a challenge in our rural communities. 

Another challenge indicated in our study was the lack of transportation in rural areas, coupled with the need to travel such long distances for health care, especially to see specialists. Telehealth or telemedicine is being utilized more during this COVID-19 era, and it seems like this service would be very helpful to have available on an ongoing basis after the pandemic. Technology might be a great way to provide these other services such as the education and training, the counseling and emotional support or being able to find and connect to services that are out there. But we do know in rural areas there might be some issues in some parts of the country about having adequate broadband internet connection to support technology and helping some people feel comfortable using this type of technology. 

Bill Walsh: Right. Well, thank you for that. And while you were talking about caregiving resources, I wanted to just give a shout out to AARP's caregiving resources, which are really pretty robust. You can find them at aarp.org/caregiving. This is really a one-stop shop for tips and tools to help you care for a loved one. It's got valuable information about handling medical issues, health records, advanced directives, home safety, financial and legal issues, caregiver life balance and much more. You can find resources and support guides, and also, we've got a really supportive online community and a Facebook community as well, so you can connect with other caregivers and share best practices or frustrations and experiences. We also have a line you can call. If you need to talk to someone, you can call the AARP Caregiving Support Line at 877-333-5885. For Spanish resources, go to aarp.org/cuidar or call 888-971-2013. 

And now I understand we have a lot of questions in the queue. Jean, who is waiting to ask a question? 

Jean Setzfand: We have Reggie from Colorado online. 

Bill Walsh: All right, Reggie, go ahead with your question. Reggie, are you there? 

Reggie: Can you hear me? 

Bill Walsh: Yeah, I can hear just fine. Go ahead with your question. 

Reggie: OK, so I am a grandparent raising a grandchild. I'm in the category of a full-time caregiver, and I believe one of the speakers mentioned if your child has the coronavirus, to put them in a room and isolate. But my question is about emotional versus physical balance.

These kids, a lot of times, are being raised by us because they've already had trauma with their parents and isolating them is really difficult. Mine is 11 years old and she freaks out if I can't hug her, kiss her or whatever. So I'm just curious, you know, if you have any advice or input on balancing physical safety along with emotional health.

Bill Walsh: That's a tough situation. And thanks for that question. Dr. Rios, do you have any advice you can offer there? 

Elena Rios: I think that mental health is so important and especially with kids. I would actually ask the provider for referrals to the mental health team that the local providers, whether it's a doctor or a doctor's office or the health system or the public health department locally, usually there are phone lines where you can ask questions specifically there. I guess you really do have to have a balance and have time set aside, just as was mentioned earlier about making sure you take time for quality time, and really focus on the happy things of reading stories, music, art, things like that, that take your mind off of the situation that you're in. But I think the importance of quarantine or isolation is really so that you don't get sick. You know, you just have to balance it off, balance your day plan, but seek help. 

Bill Walsh: That's a difficult trade off, isn't it? Jean, do we have someone else in the queue? 

Jean Fetzfand: We have a question coming in from YouTube. Joyce from YouTube is asking, "During this pandemic what provisions and resources are being provided for caregivers as they care for their loved ones?"

Bill Walsh: Dr. Strommen, do you want to handle that question?

Jane Strommen: Yeah, the question was what kind of resources are available for caregivers to care for their loved ones. 

Bill Walsh: Right. Right. 

Jane Strommen: That's a great question. You know, I did talk about there's an array of services and supports that are available. But I could mention that caregivers certainly have needed to make some adjustments in this situation with COVID. For the most part, caregivers have been very understanding and have made those adjustments in their caregiving situation, and they're really doing the best that they can. But I just would make sure that caregivers are taking advantage of services that will limit their exposure to the virus, whether it's having their groceries or medications delivered, asking family members to run errands or pick up supplies, utilizing telehealth or other medical appointments. And we talked about respite care, that that's really important. And just an interesting thing that I learned from talking with an aging-network colleague in our state, in North Dakota, is that they're seeing caregivers putting respite care on hold. Probably for a couple of reasons, maybe not wanting somebody to come into their home that would increase their risk of exposure. But secondly, a lot of businesses are closed, and people are being encouraged to stay home. So some caregivers are wondering where would I go and what would I do if I did get that respite care service? But one of the things I wanted to mention is it might be good for people in other states to look at — in North Dakota they're starting to implement something called Virtual Respite, and the Family Caregiver Support Program and their Lifespan Respite Care Grant. There's an opportunity for family caregiver clients to utilize technology like an iPad so that their loved one can connect to a respite care worker remotely. And this respite care worker can interact with the loved one or care recipient by maybe having a friendly visit, playing a game, watching a TV show or a favorite movie together. The family caregiver still is going to be in the house. But it's going to give them a break and just some time for themselves. So, I think beyond looking and utilizing the services that are in your community and things like this that might be available, it's really important for those family caregivers to be intentional about doing something for themselves every week, and they actually plan it. And it doesn't have to be big. Maybe it's just going for a walk a couple of times a week and getting some fresh air, looking at different scenery. But the important thing is to have something to look forward to. So I'd say utilizing those services and doing something good for yourself, your self-care. 

Bill Walsh: All right, great advice. Jean, let's go to the next question in the queue. 

Jean Setzfand: Great, we have a call from Diane from Massachusetts. 

Bill Walsh: Diane, go ahead with your question. 

Diane: Hello. I'm wondering if it's safe for me as a 74-year-old to support my local restaurants by ordering delivery. I'm a little wary.

Bill Walsh: To support your local restaurants by having their food delivered?

Diane: Yes. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Mayor Gallego, maybe you could talk a little bit about that and talk about what accommodations you've seen restaurants there in Phoenix make. 

Kate Gallego: Absolutely. We have been relying on some great data from folks at John Hopkins School of Public Health that talked about as things come into your home some precautions that you can take. I understand Clorox wipes are like gold today, but if you have them, you can wipe off packaging before you touch them. If you take things into your home and open it up, we have heard recommendations that after that it's valuable to wash your hands just in case, especially if you are particularly vulnerable. I certainly would defer to doctors' recommendations on this, but what we have heard from public health officials is that unless you have a particular concern, that delivery is a way to support your restaurants and get some good nutrition, and we still feel the same way. Meals on Wheels has been a vital lifeline in almost every community, but those meal deliveries also are helping people, if you qualify for that. And again, it's a way to often, stay in your home and not go to a situation like a grocery store, which might be even higher risk. So many communities have a wide variety of meal delivery services. You may not qualify for Meals on Wheels, but then there's local delivery platforms or national ones like Uber Eats that can drop them off. And restaurants are so key to our community, so if we can support them and help them get through this, I feel like it's a win for our taste buds and a win for our communities.

Bill Walsh: Right. And I wonder also if you call your local restaurant and simply ask them what precautions they're taking to protect folks on the receiving end of their food. I know a number of restaurants have used this as a differentiator just to talk about all the special precautions they're taking to keep people safe. Jean, I wonder who's next on the line. 

Jean Setzfand: We have Peggy from Florida. 

Bill Walsh: Hey, Peggy, go ahead and ask your question. 

Peggy: Yes, the question that I have today, I'm 65, I'm a widow and I have respiratory challenges. I have multiple underlying conditions, and I have skimped on going to my doctor for my labs, those things that I must get one month, and now the doctor wants to do another CT scan and my echocardiogram because my multiple underlying conditions have to do with those organs. And so I'm just afraid. I just want to know what kind of suggestions you all may have for me visiting my doctors' offices and going to these labs to have my blood drawn and getting the CT scans. I'm just terrified of going. 

Bill Walsh: Yeah. 

Peggy: I haven't left my home since the pandemic started. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Rios. I wonder if you would address that? We've heard a lot about people putting off elective surgery, but in this case, she's discussing even regular checkups for chronic conditions. Do you have any advice there? 

Elena Rios: Yeah, I honestly think that staying home is the best policy. If it's not something that needs immediate attention, and that's what we're talking about with elective surgeries. If it's something you can put off another month, better to put it off another month. I think things are going to open up in, I'll say this summer, I'll say June. You know we're already at May 1 tomorrow. And there will be less a feeling of anxiety as the doctors' offices, for example, do reach out to their patients. And there's no reason why you couldn't reschedule your lab draws. I would call them and let them know that you have this appointment or timeframe that you're supposed to be getting these tests, but you'd like to know if you can just put them off a month or two months.

Bill Walsh: Right. And Dr. Rios, aside from elective surgery, if somebody like the caller simply wants to check in with their doctor to monitor ongoing chronic conditions, it seems to me that many of those doctors are willing to just simply get on the phone and do a virtual visit that way. Have you found that as well? 

Elena Rios: Yeah, that's fine. I think that is important to call and talk to the nurses or to find out what they would suggest. And I think that they're more than willing to talk to people over telephones or over computers, what is known as telehealth or telemedicine. But I think this is happening everywhere where doctors and dentists, especially dentists, have closed offices. 

Bill Walsh: Right. 

Elena Rios: And unless there's an emergency … the hospitals are what are staying open for emergency patients.

Bill Walsh: Right. OK. Well, thank you for that. Jean, who's our next caller? 

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Lori Ann from North Carolina.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Lori Ann, go ahead with your question.

Lori Ann: Yes. Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for this platform. It sounds like I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum from one of the earlier callers. I have been a caregiver with two underlying chronic conditions that suppress my immune system, but I'm doing well. But we're in a multigenerational home. My mother's 83, with multiple underlying conditions. My grandmother is 102. June 2 she will be a 103, God willing. My question is that she's on home hospice. She's been diagnosed with vascular dementia about a year and a half ago, but she's intermittent with it. But my question is, we put all this distance in place. Hospice now does one televisit a week and the other they come in person. Our home health assistant wears a mask, we wear masks, but my grandmother looked at us last week and kind of put a tissue over her mouth cause everybody else has it, because again, her diagnosis is relatively new. But it's progressing daily, dementia, but she's still cognitive many times. But we usually bless her. We're an African American family, hug her, kiss her every night. She's 102, almost going on 103. I don't mean to be repetitive. What restrictions can, I mean, it's a balance between what you said, my heart and my mind. I know what the right thing in my mind to do is, but as my mom said, I miss kissing my mother. She realizes that every night my mother gives her a kiss, and we put her to bed and we bless her. And we've just kind of been hands-off except for when we have to be, and we wear masks and gloves and constantly sanitize our hands. Are there any restrictions being that we're at the opposite end, I mean, I don't know, God could have 10 years left for her. What restrictions can we begin to lift in our home or is that advisable or not?

Bill Walsh: Right. Dr. Rios, do you have any advice for that particular situation? 

Elena Rios: Well, I think if, again, it goes back to whether the patient, the person, the grandmother, the mother in your household has the virus. If they're don't have the virus, it's you that has to be more careful. If you're going out and you're coming back in, you're the one that needs to wash your hands more. And be careful about how you interact with them because you're bringing in the potential germ, the potential virus. But for them, I think it's just really having your habits of being close and goodnight kiss and all of that, there's nothing wrong with that. I think that's fine. I think it's really about you because you’re the one going outside. You just need to be more careful of the way you're interacting with them. That's all. 

Bill Walsh: Right. 

Elena Rios: I mean, it's like when you think about what hospice is all about, the hospice situation is the person is really, you're just trying to keep them comfortable. And it's the quality of the time because you have little time just by definition and you want to be around that person and have them feel comfortable and not feel isolated. I guess that's the most important thing. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good point. Jean, who do we have next in the queue? 

Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming in from Facebook Live. This question is from Robin, and she asks, "I've seen a 'granny pad' advertised on TV where it's supposed to be easy for the elderly to use. What are your thoughts? I think it's a good thing. I just don't know. Just asking on behalf of my grandmother. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Mayor Gallego. Do you want to take this one? Are you familiar with granny pads? Are there many of them in the Phoenix area? 

Kate Gallego: We don't use that term, but actually AARP has been wonderful in providing information about how we can build for all ages as the city has partnered to expand our housing supply. We have been looking at multigenerational housing and just talking to our nonprofit partners about building houses that have things like hallways and doors that accommodate wheelchairs, different design elements that allow someone to stay in place as they age or transition through different levels of care. We have great partners, and I think many communities have facilities that have different types of living situations, all located on one campus, where if your needs for health care and assistance progress, you can stay in the same location and stay in touch with their community and friends. I think this is a different problem than is related to this question. But we've had great luck with grand families and trying to design housing that recognizes that many grandparents are the primary caregivers. And we have a few facilities in Phoenix that are set up exactly for grandparents who are caretakers for their kids. And that, I think, has gotten good reviews from both the kids and the grandparents, which I feel like in my household, if the grandparents and the kid is happy, that's success. 

Bill Walsh: OK. And I said “granny pads” because that was what the questioner used. They're also known as accessory dwelling units, of course. Jean, what is the next question in the queue? 

Jean Setzfand: Our next question comes from Madeline from Missouri. 

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

Madeline: Hi. Thank you for taking the question. My mother, who is 92, lives in an assisted living facility, and on or about 3/17, they locked down the facility to no visitors, no communal activities, no communal dining. So she was basically by herself for a month, and she would call my sister and I three and four times a day saying she was lonely, and she wanted visitors, and she wanted people to come stay with her. And so the catalyst was when she called us both crying about 8:30 at night saying that she couldn't stay there anymore, and she wanted somebody to come and get her. So immediately we went to go get her the next day. That was on or about 4/16. So now she's been here for two weeks and she's obviously feeling better, feeling stronger. But now she wants to go back home. And although we explained to her when we took her that the CDC probably wouldn't allow it, she's kind of insisting. And I know what the right thing to do is to keep her here, but because of her underlying anxiety and forgetfulness issues and all of that, I just want to make her as comfortable as possible. If you have any suggestions as to what I should do.

Bill Walsh: To make her as comfortable at home, at your home as possible? 

Madeline: Either at home as possible or should I call the facility and see if it's OK for her to go back. And I'm thinking if it's going to be extended, you know, the same thing is just going to happen if we take her back. 

Bill Walsh: Right. This has been such a big issue, right, and not all nursing homes or assisted living facilities have been sharing information about what's happening inside their walls, even while there's very little communication between the residents and families. Dr. Strommen, I wonder if you could address this particular situation.

Jane Strommen: Yes, I would be happy to. You know, it's been just a really kind of heartbreaking situation with so many older adults that are in our care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living, to not be able to be out and about and not to see their family and friends. And it's really caused anxiety for some people. And I think that we have to acknowledge that. It's not been easy to do that. And for some it's been hard to understand why this is needed, why they can't have family coming in to see them during this time. So if your mother is feeling better, and she has been able to acclimate to your home right now, it seems like it would be best if she just is able to stay there, and you kind of try to assess what you all need, you as a caregiver, and her, what are the needs and probably make a plan and then see, are there some types of services that you might be able to get into your home that would help your mom or to help you. Perhaps you want to talk to the senior center about getting meals delivered. Find out what other services might be available. It seems like if she's going to go back to the facility, if they would take back readmissions, she might be back in the same situation where she'd have a lot of anxiety about not being around her family and being able to see the family. So I’d really think about what you would need for it to work in terms of emotional support and physical support for your mom to continue staying in your house. 

Bill Walsh: Yeah, it's a very difficult one, and as listeners may know, AARP has been very active on the nursing home and assisted living front. One resource I'd like to recommend is at aarp.org/coronavirus, we have the six questions to ask care facilities and so, for this particular call, or that would be questions to ask before considering even putting your loved one back in there. If you've got a loved one in assisted living facility or nursing home, this is a time to be a very strong advocate for them and don't be afraid to pose these questions and really demand answers. OK, Jean, who else do we have next in the queue? 

Jean Setzfand: We have Jeanette from Florida. 

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

Jeanette: Hi, yes, I have a daughter and her family that live less than a mile away from me, and we've all been self-quarantined. The question is, my daughter's husband does go out daily to work, and of course he uses all the COVID-19 precautions. But I was wondering if we can all get together if we all got tested for coronavirus? And if we all were negative, would we be able to get together or is it still too much of a risk because the husband goes out to work?

Bill Walsh: Dr. Rios, I wonder if you could address that. I think the CDC has had some guidelines about who is able to get tested and also some of the accuracy of the tests.

Elena Rios: I think the, the guidelines, and I don't have them right in front of me, but I do think that it's important to realize that it really depends on the age of the person. It's the older, above 65, or persons that have underlying health conditions, especially respiratory problems like asthma or COPD. Those are the people that are supposed to be first in line to have testing. Since there wasn't that many tests available, I would call your doctors to find out if they have access to more testing in certain states or certain cities. But I think because of the lack of tests available, there has been a limit to those who really need it. And I think that the best guidance, without having being tested, is to have the social distancing. So if you're in the home together, a few people, that you not sit next to each other. You know, you sit in different parts of the room and that's the best guidance, and washing your hands and after everybody leaves, cleaning doorknobs and that type of thing. 

Bill Walsh: Right. And for, in this particular case, she was asking about the husband leaving the house every day to go to work. What would you advise for him when he comes back in the house every day? 

Elena Rios: Yeah, I think, leaving shoes outside is something that has been recognized, and also, in terms of clothing. If they are around a lot of people, it depends on where they work, but leaving their clothes in a hamper, let's say. And taking a shower before you interact with everybody else is the most safe thing that people are recommending now. Especially for frontline workers like grocery store workers and hospital workers that are seeing a lot of people. If they're working, with just a few people and they're not really interacting with a lot of the public, then it's a different story.

Bill Walsh: OK. Well, and thank you for that. We're coming up on the end of our call. So, Dr. Rios, Dr. Strommen, and Mayor Gallego, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations that AARP members should understand most from our conversation today? Dr. Rios, how about if we start with you? 

Elena Rios: I would say that AARP has done a great job in educating our elders. And I shouldn't say that cause I'm an elder myself, but everybody over 50 that has been able to access information from AARP or has been a member, knows how much AARP does care for their constituents. And I think it's really important to get engaged and let others know about the importance of AARP as a resource. And certainly for the guidelines about COVID-19, to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is known as CDC. And their website is cdc.gov and right at the front page you'll see "coronavirus information" right away. So thank you and that you for that.

Bill Walsh: Thank you, Dr. Rios. Oh yeah, it was a delight to have you on the call today. Dr. Strommen, any closing thoughts or recommendations from you?

Jane Strommen: Well, I just want to thank you for having this event and getting the word out on this important topic. And I would also reiterate, AARP has great resources. I tell family caregivers all the time to go there and look, and our extension has great resources on talking to your kids, older adults. But I'd really say to people, kind of a one takeaway is that the organizations that have been helping older adults all along and family caregivers all along are still doing that. They've just adjusted their ways. And I would really reach out to your local senior center. Every state has a state aging services, and they have staff located in regional and local areas. Reach out to them and find out how they've made adjustments. They are being very intentional about serving family caregivers and older adults, and in new ways, just adjusting to this COVID era.

Bill Walsh: Right, there's been a lot of innovation out there, a lot we can learn from this difficult time. So thank you, Dr. Strommen. Mayor Gallego, any closing thoughts, recommendations from your point of view? 

Kate Gallego: I wanted to say thank you to the all the inspiring folks out there who have been acting as caregivers during such difficult times, whether you're caring for a parent or a child, it is an act of love, but it is one that is much more difficult in the era of COVID-19, so thank you for stepping up. It certainly makes me proud of our country. I also, again, want to say thank you to all the people who have made changes to their lives that have bent that curve and help our health care system fight COVID-19. Very difficult changes to everyone's lives, but it really is paying off in lives saved, and so thank you. I sort of echo a previous statement, but if you are in a crisis situation and need resources, I would be tenacious and keep asking until you find what it is. If you're fighting domestic violence, there are still resources to help you get to a safe situation. If you don't have the food you need, keep looking and AARP can be a resource area, agencies on aging, you can call your local government. There are resources out there, so you may have to be your own advocate, but I would keep working to make sure you know what you need. It is tough times, but we'll work to get it. So, thank you to AARP also, a fabulous resource for me as a mayor when we make tough decisions and a great resource for our country. Thank you. 

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you all. This has been a really informative discussion. We appreciate our experts, as well as our listeners, and thank you AARP members, our volunteers and listeners for participating in discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we are providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. 

All of the resources we referenced in today's call, including a recording, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. I also wanted to let our listeners know that all those resources, or most of them, are in Spanish as well at aarp.org/elcoronavirus. So please check out those excellent Spanish language resources. Go to aarp.org/coronavirus if your question was not addressed, and you’ll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. 

We hope you learned something that you can keep with you and help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy. Please be sure to tune in on Thursday, May 7. We'll have two tele-town halls. The first is, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time will address how you can stay safe and protected from the coronavirus and protect your bank account from scammers. The second event, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, will address how you can manage your career, business and income. So we'll be back on May 7 and we hope you'll join us. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 30, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

Bill Walsh:  Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, 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.

[00:00:26] Today, we'll talk to experts about the unique challenges of caring for loved ones during the pandemic. We'll pay special attention to grandparents who are caring for grandchildren and those in the sandwich generation who are caring for children and older family members. We will also address an issue that has prompted a lot of questions recently. Stimulus checks. 

[00:00:48] If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question about caring for parents, kids or grandkids, press *3 on your telephone to be connected to an AARP staff member who will note your name and question, and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, please press *3. 

[00:01:31] We have three wonderful guests with us today. Joining us is Jane Strommen, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice at North Dakota State University, Kate Gallego, mayor of the city of Phoenix in Arizona and Dr. Elena Rios, M.D., president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association. We also will be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today. AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus, 24 hours after the event. Today, we're talking with experts about caring for loved ones of all ages during the global coronavirus pandemic. 

[00:02:47] But before diving into our topic, I'd like to fill you in briefly on a few things AARP has been doing to advocate for members and all consumers. We fought to ensure that Americans whose primary source of income is Social Security will receive payments of up to $1,200 under the recent economic stimulus package. We have stood up for the most vulnerable seniors by helping to secure increased funding for critical programs like Meals on Wheels. We've also pushed to expand unemployment insurance benefits, as well as paid sick leave, virtual visitation in nursing homes and family leave for people who need to take time off to care for themselves or for loved ones. While we've been hard at work in Washington, D.C., AARP representatives across the country are also fighting for you by working with state policymakers on a range of issues.

[00:03:41] I want to share a few examples. In Alaska and Michigan, we helped expand access to telehealth. In North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, AARP is fighting to expand paid and emergency leave for workers. In South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California and Wisconsin, AARP is working to ensure that people have access to information and needed health care related to the coronavirus, and that their leaders are addressing the underlying issues of hunger, health access, transportation and more. Finally, and very importantly, AARP state offices across the country are fighting to increase transparency about coronavirus cases and eldercare facilities like nursing homes and assisted living. They're fighting to secure sufficient protective equipment for nursing home staff and residents, bring communications technology into care facilities and making sure people aren't inappropriately discharged or transferred. All of these are important topics for older Americans, and AARP's advocacy would not be possible without the phone calls, emails and actions of AARP members and volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you. 

[00:05:01] Now I'd like to welcome our guests. First, Jane Strommen, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice at North Dakota State University Extension. She has more than 30 years of experience working with older adults and their families in various settings, including nursing homes, assisted living, senior housing and community-based care. She's responsible for educational outreach in North Dakota in numerous areas such as fall prevention, aging well, health promotion and family caregiving. Welcome, Dr. Strommen. 

[00:05:32]Jane Strommen:  Thanks for having me. 

[00:05:34]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for being here. Second, Kate Gallego. She is the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. She is the second elected female mayor in Phoenix's history, and at 38 years old, she is the youngest big city mayor in the United States. Mayor Gallego is passionate about building a Phoenix that works for everyone and increasing the quality of life for all Phoenix residents. She has focused on three key policy areas during her time in office: diversifying the economy, strengthening infrastructure investment and working to make Phoenix a leader in sustainability. Thank you for being here, Mayor Gallego. 

[00:06:09]Kate Gallego:  Glad to join you. 

[00:06:10]Bill Walsh:  All right. And finally, Dr. Elena Rios, M.D., president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association representing Hispanic physicians in the United States. She is also president of the National Hispanic Health Foundation, affiliated with the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Dr. Rios was appointed to the Minority Alumni Hall of Fame of Stanford University and named one of the Top 100 Influential and Innovative Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. Thank you, Dr. Rios. 

[00:06:43]Elena Rios:  Glad to be here. 

[00:06:44]Bill Walsh:  Right. Thank you all for joining us today. Let's get started with our discussion. Dr. Strommen, let's start with you. What advice would you have for grandparents who are caring for grandchildren during the public health crisis? How can they help their grandchildren remain socially connected with friends and loved ones even while being physically distanced?

[00:07:10]Jane Strommen:  Thanks, Bill for that question. Just to get started, when we're talking about grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren, there are really three common roles that grandparents play. One is day care grandparents who provide regular daily care, usually to very young children. And there's “living with” grandparents, those who reside with a grandchild, but they don't have legal custody. And third is custodial grandparents and they have legal responsibility for the grandchild. So for today, we'll talk about grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, meaning that they're living together. And keeping them happy, healthy and learning during this stay-at-home order comes with some special worries. You know, older adults are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and they need to take special precautions to reduce their risk and focus on their own health and well-being. So I just have a few strategies to make this time go a little smoother for grandparents and the grandchildren. 

[00:08:12] Now, grandparents really need to be kind to themselves and gentle about their expectations right now. And they need to remember that most of us were not prepared for this. So if they have some anxieties, some fear, worry, these are all normal. Embrace a schedule. We know that most children of all ages thrive when they have some predictable routines. So if you have grandchildren that are preschool age or older, have them help in developing a daily schedule. Another point would be talk to your grandchildren about COVID-19. There are age-appropriate resources available to guide these important discussions. Reach out to the school. There's a lot of uncertainty about the return to school, and many grandparents are fretting about not being able to help their grandchildren. So don't be afraid to ask for support. And last, is take care of your health. You know, eat well, sleep, get enough exercise, manage stress. And even if it seems impossible, try to find some time for yourself. 

[00:09:15] So regarding keeping the grandchildren socially connected, it's really guided by their age, their interests and the nature of their relationships with other family members and friends. So here are just a few ideas. Now you could use FaceTime and have other loved ones read stories to younger grandchildren. You could celebrate birthdays and holidays with some Zoom parties, or you can enjoy a virtual meal with relatives. Arrange virtual play dates for younger children, perhaps allowing older grandchildren to attend virtual concerts with their friends. This group is pretty savvy at staying connected with their friends. And then last but not least, call family and friends on the old-fashioned phone to stay connected. 

[00:10:02]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, it's a good point. It occurred to me as I was listening to you, that maybe the grandchildren have something to teach their grandparents about staying socially connected while they're physically distancing.

[00:10:13]Jane Strommen:  Absolutely. 

[00:10:14]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thank you for that. Mayor Gallego. I wanted to ask you how local governments and businesses are helping support people who are caring for loved ones during the pandemic. What do you see in Phoenix and other communities that our listeners should know about? 

[00:10:32]Kate Gallego:  Both local governments and our businesses have really tried to step up and support people in what, for many, may be among the most difficult challenges they have ever faced. And I guess first, I just want to say thank you to everyone who's staying home and slowing the spread of COVID-19. As a country we have bent the curve and slowed the spread of this terrible virus in our community. That is saving lives, and I think we don't spend enough time saying “thank you” to people who are making enormous sacrifices so that we can save American lives. So I wanted to start with that. 

[00:11:08] I would encourage you to look to your local governments as key sources of information. Almost every city on their homepage has information about resources and many are quite broad. So cities are displaying information about senior and vulnerable-population hours at grocery stores. So many grocery stores have hours, which are particularly focused for older adults, and you can find out about that directly from them or from your cities. And many cities will also share information about how you can get services delivered, whether it be food or other support. Many are offering recreation online and really trying to step up. We talked about FaceTime stories and staying connected online. Local governments are, in some communities, purchasing tablets to help a variety of different groups, whether it be people in nursing homes or families at home, stay connected. We are trying to get people who don't have internet more access right now. I am the mother of a 3-year-old right now, and I am trying to keep him learning and educated and get him those great resources while he's not going to what most people would call day care, but we call school. 

[00:12:37]Bill Walsh:  How are you doing that and serving as mayor at the same time? 

[00:12:41]Kate Gallego:  Well, he's at daddy day care right now, so that I can give my full attention to this important AARP conversation, but my 3-year-old has made an appearance on many, many Zoom calls, as has the dog. I have learned that they are both more popular than the mayor. But it's a real challenge. My parents used to take care of my son every day, and since COVID has started, that's not something we've been able to do. I am still working and so exposed to the virus, and I don't want to be the one who spreads it to my family. So we've had to be connected through technology instead of in person. And that's been really hard, and it's something, for all of you who are taking care of people right now, I just want to give you my complete sympathy. The family member who held my hand when my son was born has been in the hospital and because of no visitors, I've been stuck with FaceTime. It is not the same, but it is sure better than nothing, and so I'm grateful for states and local governments that are trying to enable that connectivity for those who don't already have it. For those who do, I would definitely encourage you to use it. I think many people had amusing experiences over Passover, Easter and other holidays where it may not be the same as family traditions, but it sure is among the most memorable. And so I hope there've been a few good memories during these difficult times.

[00:14:17]Bill Walsh:  I think we're all learning to roll with the punches and be flexible and resilient during this time. Dr. Strommen, I wanted to follow up with something that Mayor Gallego kind of opened the door to, and that was about how people can balance work, caring for an older loved one while caring for children whose schools or childcare centers are closed and maybe closed for some time. 

[00:14:42]Jane Strommen:  Well, that's a great question. And those caregivers who are caring for their own young children and older family members are called the sandwich-generation caregivers, and they're juggling multiple responsibilities: school, work, childcare, other tasks of daily life, in addition to caring for an older adult. So when it becomes really difficult to balance all this caregiving with the demands of life, they can easily get overwhelmed and stressed. So the need to balance life and caregiving becomes really important for their own health and well-being.

[00:15:19] So just a few things that I would recommend to those people who are caring for children and older family members is really set some clear boundaries. You know, state what you can and cannot do and know that it's OK to say no sometimes. People are not superhuman beings. And they need to determine their own needs. You know whether it's taking a 15-minute walk or a regular video chat with friends, and really be firm about making those things happen. 

[00:15:50] Another point would be to prioritize the things that are really important, those activities, and drop those nonessential activities from the list. Now is not the time to put extra pressure on yourself, and so be flexible and use any approaches to simplify life right now. Another biggie is ask for help. Don't be reluctant to enlist the help of other relatives, friends, neighbors, fellow church members. Kids can pitch in, too, with household chores. You know, there may be other family members who can't provide the primary care right now, but they can do other things like managing finances or maybe providing some transportation to medical appointments.

[00:16:37] Another important point is reach out to schools or senior centers for information on alternate ways to get meals. Both have changed the way that they deliver nutritious meals to older adults and children right now. Another important thing is to communicate, whether providing regular updates to other family members, you can use things like email, text groups, Google Drive documents, apps, what is called Lots of Helping Hands, just so everyone stays on the same page. 

[00:17:11] Another important thing is to plan ahead. You know caregiving can last years and even decades, so it's important to take the time to research what supports are out there, such as respite care and adult day care in the community and their costs. Talk to your employer. Check if there's any option for working from home or flexibility to work some different hours. What kind of benefits does your employer have for paid or unpaid leave? And then last would be to, you know, seek some balance. We really need to be flexible and focus on the needs of your family and yourself. And you'll know that each day and each week will be different and that's OK. 

[00:17:57]Bill Walsh:  Thank you so much, Dr. Strommen, for that. There was a lot of great advice there. Now as you were talking, I was reminded, on aarp.org/coronavirus we have a lot of resources for the 40 million family caregivers in this country, including how to create a caregiving plan before an emergency happens. And it hits on a number of the points that Dr. Strommen touched on as well. So thank you for sharing that. Dr. Rios, so I'd like to bring you into the conversation. What should someone do if a child or grandchild tests positive for COVID-19? If an older adult is their primary caregiver or lives in the same home, how can they safely quarantine while trying not to get sick?

[00:18:44]Elena Rios:  Well, let me answer the first question first. If there is a positive patient who is your child or grandchild, it's important, just like any other patient, to make sure that the grandmother or the grandfather understands the health care provider's instructions, especially for medications that will help the fever or the cough associated with the COVID-19 virus. And also, just to make sure that you're aware that the patient could get worse, the child, and it's important to understand that the worsening symptom has really been shortness of breath. And shortness of breath for children that have asthma, it may come faster and be an exacerbation of their asthma. But for the children who do not have asthma, and all of a sudden have a shortness of breath that they had never experienced before, usually ends up having a little bit of anxiety, and your heart rate and your respiratory rate gets faster. And I think it's important for deep breathing and for grandparents to watch the patient more closely if they are short of breath. And if there is any indication that the patient is not able to calm down, the grandparents should call the doctor, the health care provider or the clinic, or even 9-1-1 if you have to. If you do call 9-1-1 though, it's important to make sure that the dispatcher knows that it is a COVID-19 patient.

[00:20:47] And then the second question about how to take care of your own quarantine, you need to be away from the child as much as possible. We call it social distancing, being 6 feet away from the patient as much as possible, and actually being in another room, making sure that the house has air flow so that the air is going out the window as much as possible. And then, I guess the most important thing, too, for the patient and the grandmother or caregiver, is to continually keep things clean, washing your hands, not touching your face, cleaning doorknobs, disinfecting areas where the child may have been playing to keep the virus as much as possible away from yourself, from the grandmother and grandparents. The indication now is if you're over 2 years old, children over 2 years old who have the COVID virus should be wearing a mask. A face mask is just another way of protecting the grandmother, the grandparents. So I think that's important. So I'll stop there. And the CDC has COVID information.

[00:22:23]Bill Walsh:  It's a lot of good advice. It's such a tricky situation, right? Because older adults are so susceptible to the bad effects of COVID and yet, frequently they are the frontline caregivers to young children as well, so they have to be vigilant and take the kinds of precautions that you talked about. So thank you for that. I also want to take a moment just to provide a special thanks to you and your members, Dr. Rios, and all the health care workers out there for their dedication, hard work and bravery in combating this pandemic. It's a real service to the nation. I'd like to turn to our callers. So let's take some calls for Dr. Jane Strommen, Mayor Kate Gallego and Dr. Elena Rios. I'd like to introduce my colleague, Jean Setzfand, to help facilitate your call today. Welcome, Jean. 

[00:23:27]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks, Bill. I'm delighted to be here for this conversation. 

[00:23:30]Bill Walsh:  All right, well let's get to our first question. Who do we have? 

[00:23:34]Jean Setzfand:  We have Donna from Maryland. 

[00:23:36]Bill Walsh:  OK, Donna, go ahead and ask your question. 

[00:23:39]Donna:  Hi. I have custody of my three grandchildren, and I'm 71 with underlying health conditions. But my question is, and the last lady that just talked answered some of them, which I had pretty much figured anyway, but once they get out and they're doing things and stuff, when they come back in to the home should they take, I mean, if they're not infected with it, they could be asymptomatic. So, do I make them take a shower? I mean, I don't know how to deal with it once they get out of here. 

[00:24:23]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, I hear you. So even for a kid who may be asymptomatic, you're asking, what should they be doing? They're going to be coming and going from the house, maybe playing with friends. Dr. Strommen, do you want to address that, and maybe Dr. Rios weigh in, as well? 

[00:24:43]Jane Strommen:  Yes, for children coming and going I think that grandparents need to stay informed and understand all the precautions that they need to take to protect themselves, because we know that they are at greater risk. And if they are living in the home, it becomes a great challenge. I really would look to the health care providers for information on the things that they need to do as far as the laundry and cleaning and those types of things. So I think I would look to Dr. Rios for providing some of those more detailed instructions to grandparents. 

[00:25:28]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Rios, can you weigh in on some best practices for Donna in Maryland?

[00:25:34]Elena Rios:  Yeah, I really think it's important to know who the child is hanging out with, per se, and I think that most families right now are being told to not to have their children socializing with others. Try to keep them within the boundaries of your home and outside, just like everybody is being told for social distancing. So the less contact with other friends and other families is important right now. And, so with that, if they're not really in contact with other others, they have less of a chance of getting sick. I think the important thing is for them, the best practices really are just washing your hands and not touching your face, and using your own cups and glasses and plates and that type of thing. You know, just try to minimize contact with others. Maybe not sharing towels, that type of thing. So you have three different kids and you never know what's going to happen. If one gets sick, they'll all get sick, right? So, I think it is important just to monitor them and to let them know not to be out with friends. 

[00:27:09]Bill Walsh:  OK, thank you very much for that. Jean, do we have another caller on the line? 

[00:27:14]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we have Faye from Ohio. 

[00:27:17]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Faye, go ahead with your question. 

[00:27:20]Faye:  Thank you for taking my call. Well, I think you guys basically have kind of answered it. It was about the grandkids. I haven't seen mine, unfortunately, in almost two months, and my question basically was, let's see, they're lifting some things here in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm not going to go out, but I want to have them over. Now I'm 61. I don't have any medical conditions that I know of, and they're only around their parents. And my question was, when I have them in the house, should I continue to wear a mask? I mean, I don't wear my mask in the house. I've only gone out a couple of times to the grocery store in almost like eight weeks. And my question is do I wear a mask? And should I have them wear one only in the house? I'm not going to take them out anywhere. 

[00:28:04]Bill Walsh:  Right. Well, Dr. Rios, do you want to give some advice there? And maybe Mayor Gallego, I know you have a young child, maybe you want to weigh in on that as well?

[00:28:14]Elena Rios:  Yeah, I'll just say that the CDC just doesn't have any official recommendation on wearing masks inside your home. I mean, unless you are COVID positive; that patient should wear a mask. That's as far as I would take it right now. 

[00:28:35]Bill Walsh:  So your answer there is only the person who's been diagnosed with COVID should be wearing the mask. 

[00:28:41]Elena Rios:  Right. Right. 

[00:28:42]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. OK. Mayor Gallego did you want to weigh in on that question from Faye in Cincinnati?

[00:28:48]Kate Gallego:  Yeah, absolutely. So I am, as I mentioned, the mother of a 3-year-old. The CDC says that both 3-year-olds and their mothers should be wearing masks when they are out. God bless those mothers who can get a 3-year-old to wear a mask. I do not have that particular skill of persuasion. So we've been trying to, as much as possible, not go anywhere with him where he would be in contact with people. So he does come out with me when we're walking the dog, but when I've gone grocery shopping, he's not been with me, he's been with his dad. Just 'cause I don't think I can get him not to touch surfaces … we're doing better about washing hands. I've done some questions with local young kids, and one of the questions they asked me was, "What song do you, as the mayor, sing when you wash your hands to make sure you do it for the full 20 seconds?" So in case anyone cares, I'm on "Happy Birthday" right now. 

[00:29:48]Bill Walsh:  That gets old fast. 

[00:29:50]Kate Gallego:  Well, it was my brother's birthday, and so we've sung "Happy Birthday" to him — his birthday was last week — so many times, even though he is not actually present for it. I have had good luck — PBS Kids put out some information about how to talk about the virus in an age-appropriate way with kids, and that has been very useful to me. There was also a project out of Harvard that talks about, it has different resources, including in multiple different languages, for talking about COVID. And that has been helpful for me. My biology teacher would be upset with me, but we've started calling it the big germ and just talking to him — we have to do things differently with the big germ. But I think it has been important for him to understand that things have changed and the reason we're not going to play on the playground is that we are fighting what we call the big germ, but the COVID virus, right now. 

[00:30:47]Bill Walsh:  Interesting. Well, whatever works, right? All right, well, Jean, let's take another question. Who do we have on the line? 

[00:30:55]Jean Setzfand:  We have June from Florida. 

[00:30:57]Bill Walsh:  Hey, June. What's your question?

[00:31:00]June:  I am 67 years old, and I have two grandchildren, young grandchildren who I'm missing. They're 2 and 4 years old. And my question to you is, we're all being very careful, basically quarantining and have been for five or six weeks. Do you think it's safe for me to be around those kids?

[00:31:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Rios, do you want to weigh in on that? 

[00:31:30]Elena Rios:  Well, yeah, at some point, you just have to weigh the risks. I think every local public health department is keeping everything closed. Little by little, they will be reopening. But if your grandchildren are just at home and you're at home, less chance of them having much contact right now with anything. But I think as things open, like the Mayor said, they're going to be going to the supermarkets with their parents too, and they're going to be going to restaurants. So you'll actually have a better chance right now of not getting sick having them over now before everything starts opening.

[00:32:16]Bill Walsh:  OK. What precautions should she take if she does invite the grandkids over? What practical steps should she be taking? 

[00:32:25]Elena Rios:  Oh, well, everybody's using FaceTime and in terms of connecting with their grandchildren, you mean? I think that's ...

[00:32:33]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, she hasn't seen her grandkids and would like to. So if you're trying to set up an in-person meeting, what should she be doing?

[00:32:42]Elena Rios:  I think having them over to the house. I think that's important — to your house is probably best. 

[00:32:54]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Jean, I understand you have another question for us. 

[00:32:59]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, I have a question from Facebook. This is coming from Denise, and the question is, "Once they've decided to gradually reopen things, how does a senior decide when it'd be OK to resume caring for their young grandchildren?"

[00:33:17]Bill Walsh:  Mayor Gallego, I wonder if you could weigh in on that since there's so many public officials weighing this question about reopening these days. 

[00:33:28]Kate Gallego:  We are certainly facing that. Our governor yesterday extended our stay-at-home order. Some of the advice that I have gotten from our public health officials is that for our older adults, you're going to need to be cautious even longer than some other groups of individuals. So the CDC and the President's plan for reopening has more protections for people who are older or who have respiratory challenges or just any underlying health conditions. In my personal family, I have parents who have real health challenges, and so as much as it has been very, very difficult for us, I think we are going to have to wait longer before we are physically together, and it's been frankly harder than I thought. But I think I have to, in my own personal life, put public health and my parents' health first before taking those risks. And I would encourage you, if you do have access to the internet and are interested, I think it is worth reading the guidelines for reopening America. Not every state is following them, but that gives you some sort of sense of when things are going to be happening and what they would look like. It talks about certain types of businesses, manufacturing and construction, opening earlier, restaurants opening, but bar areas with more density not. And I found that helpful as the most likely road map, which won't be the same in every state, but it gives you a little bit of understanding and maybe can help you plan.

[00:35:05]Bill Walsh:  Right. Think about those scenarios that could be unfolding, and when it comes down to that individual choice and what kind of risks they are willing to tolerate. 

[00:35:15]Kate Gallego:  And if you have the ability to talk with your doctor about your personal situation, I think that is valuable as well. 

[00:35:21]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who's the next caller we have on the line? 

[00:35:25]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Deborah from California. 

[00:35:29]Bill Walsh:  All right, Deborah, go ahead. Ask your question. 

[00:35:31]Deborah:  Yes, good morning. Thank you so much for this. I am a 64-year-old senior who is the custodial grandparent of an 8-year-old. And we've been practicing social distancing rigorously, but I'm really worried about school. His school is looking at reopening, and I have to decide soon whether or not I'm going to send him back. And I'm really wondering, is it safe for me to do that? He's only 8 years old. 

[00:36:01]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Well, that's a tough one. Dr. Strommen, do you have something to say on that? 

[00:36:09]Jane Strommen:  That can be a worry for grandparents and parents who are wondering about the safety of these young ones going back to school. I guess one of the first things I would be wondering about, what is the school's policy? How are they going to be protecting these kids, that social distancing? What kind of precautions are they are putting in place to try to lower the risk of contracting COVID? I would be asking the school administration those types of questions. Also another question would be, what are the alternatives? If you don't feel safe about sending your child or grandchild back to school, what are the alternatives? Can they continue classes virtually? Could there be some paper packets of their schoolwork sent home? So I would definitely be exploring with the school what those options are, should you choose not to send your grandchild back to school at this time? 

[00:37:17]Bill Walsh:  Right. And I imagine other parents in the school district would be a good resource and maybe the PTA, as well. I mean, they're parents and they are, no doubt, highly sensitive to sending their own kids back at a time like this.

[00:37:30]Jane Strommen:  Absolutely. 

[00:37:30]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that, Dr. Strommen. And thanks for all of those questions. We're going to be taking more questions in just a moment. But let's talk for a moment about the issue of stimulus payments. AARP's received a lot of questions from our members about when they should expect their checks, and what, if anything, they need to do. As you know, federal lawmakers enacted a $2 trillion economic stimulus package on [March] 27. It is sending most Americans checks up to $1,200 or up to $2,400 for most married couples. We know that Social Security recipients, including those on disability, are eligible to receive the $1,200 check and will not have to file any additional paperwork. We understand that those checks should be arriving this week. Likewise, people who receive SSI or VA benefits are eligible to receive the $1,200 check and will not have to file any additional paperwork. That's very good news, and the IRS estimates that stimulus payments will be issued to VA beneficiaries by mid-May.

[00:38:43] Also, if you've paid income taxes in 2018 or 2019 via direct deposit, you do not need to do anything and should be receiving your check. But there are a few unique circumstances that we're still learning about, and I'd like to just cover them very quickly here. First, if you receive VA or SSI benefits and have a dependent child, to claim the extra $500, you will need to visit irs.gov by May 5 and fill out their online form for non-filers. That deadline is next Tuesday. 

[00:39:22] Second, we understand that some deceased Social Security beneficiaries received the stimulus payment and that some of you have questions about what to do with those payments. AARP has raised this issue repeatedly with the IRS, which has not yet issued clear guidance for taxpayers. As soon as the IRS provides guidance on this issue, we will alert consumers on aarp.org/coronavirus. Finally, if you did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019 and don't receive Social Security, VA, or SSI benefits, you will need to fill out a simple IRS form to receive your payment. You can visit irs.gov and search for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” For everyone, to estimate your stimulus payment, you can use AARP's stimulus payment calculator on aarp.org/coronavirus. And to check your payment status and fill out necessary forms, go to irs.gov. 

[00:40:30] And while the Social Security Administration is not able to answer questions related to the economic stimulus payments, your local Social Security office can be an excellent resource for guidance and support, especially if you need to talk with someone or if you have a dire need. To access contact information for your local office, go to ssa.gov/locator, or call the national toll-free line, 1-800-772-1213 and use voice prompts to receive a local Social Security office telephone number. 

[00:41:08] Finally, please know that the federal government is not verifying your personal information, including your Social Security number. If you receive calls or emails requesting personal information related to stimulus payments, it's very likely a scam. So be on the lookout for that. 

[00:41:28] Now let's hear more from our experts. Dr. Rios, how has the coronavirus pandemic affected the Hispanic/Latino community? Are there specific challenges for people who are caring for loved ones?

[00:41:42]Elena Rios:  Oh, that's a great question. I think, it's been in the news about our communities that are most vulnerable, especially racial/ethnic communities or rural communities, communities that are marginalized, that don't have the same access to information because the breadwinner is working two or three jobs, or they're working in low paying jobs, or working in an industry where they have to go to work. They're not social distancing. And they may pick up the virus faster than other communities, and that's what's happening in our African American communities and Hispanic communities, and for our communities, in general. We just saw on the news the meat packing plants, and I think it's the same thing happening with our frontline supermarket workers and others. 

[00:42:47] And then the other thing with our communities and our families — I'm from the Los Angeles area, where I grew up, and all my uncles and aunts and cousins are Mexican-American and all had big families. And you see those that have working poor, I'll call it working poor, live in intergenerational families with grandparents and the parents and children. And just like we're talking about grandparents here, I think it's important to realize that having more people in a house also helps the virus spread faster to more people. So I think that's the biggest impact. 

[00:43:31] Now, specific challenges are that not being able to social distance as I mentioned, but also not getting the information in Spanish. And I think that's something that, for us, for the National Hispanic Medical Association, we have collected information in Spanish. CDC.gov also has information in Spanish. And we need to get more information through Spanish media. I have seen some of our doctors have actually been interviewed on different networks in major cities on TV, but I think the radio and the small ethnic newspapers also need to have more basic information that we're talking about today. And that's part of the challenge. With these challenges where we need more information to the vulnerable communities, the opportunity is that as we move into testing and trying to educate more people, there will be jobs available from the public health sector. Our local public health departments are going to have to either hire or have volunteers who get involved with that, and it's going to be important to have, especially in places like Phoenix and other areas where we have lots of Hispanic families, it will be important to have community workers and students from the local area that might be interested in health care and health careers, in becoming a doctor or a nurse. So it's a challenge, but it's also to think about the next phase of what's about to happen this summer. 

[00:45:19]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much for that. Mayor Gallego, I wanted to touch on something that we've heard from our members during previous tele-town halls, and that is about the shortage of food, especially healthy food. Many family caregivers are helping loved ones access food, but food banks are experiencing long lines and short supplies, and news reports indicate that it won't get better anytime soon. What's being done at the local level to ensure that people who need access to food and essential nutrition are able to retain that access and stay protected from the virus?

[00:45:57]Kate Gallego:  That is a very important question and we know one of the most important things we can do to slow the spread is make sure people can get healthy supply without having to go out into higher risk situations. Phoenix is the proud home of the world's first food bank. John van Hengel founded St. Mary's Food Bank here in 1967. His idea was a food bank or individuals in the companies with excess food could deposit it, and those in need could "withdraw" it. Today, of course, our food banks are struggling. Many are prioritizing seniors and other vulnerable populations to serve first and, as best I can find, all our offering contactless drive-through services to try to reduce risk. But we also know that delivery can be very important. 

[00:46:46] One of my tough decisions I was part of was closing our senior centers here in Phoenix. You know, I ran for office wanting to do more and improve our senior centers, and it never occurred to me that I might be in my first year as mayor closing down senior centers. One of the real concerns when we did that was not only are senior centers important for people seeing friends and being able to be out in the community, but they provide nutritious meals to our residents.

[00:47:17]Bill Walsh:  Right. 

[00:47:18]Kate Gallego:  So I'm proud of our staff's ability to pivot quickly and to move to a meal-delivery service. We are now delivering multiple frozen meals at once so that people can still get that nutritious meal, and then we're also coupling it with phone check-ins just to see how people are doing, share information about resources. We've also mentioned if you're bored at home, if you could take your census, we would appreciate that. And then, we've seen great partnerships with our area agency on aging with emergency food boxes to distribute to homebound seniors. The St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is piloting a program with Amazon to deliver an emergency food box to homebound seniors. They have a supply chain that is more robust than ours. And so if we can use it to keep people well served with good nutritious food, that is important. We're also doing a regular mobile senior food box distribution throughout our community, and those are good boxes that have, at the moment, bread, fresh produce, dairy and animal protein. 

[00:48:30] I also think that that local communities can be involved in advocacy. Mayors have been a strong voice at the federal level to try to get more money for SNAP benefits. SNAP is a program you might know as food stamps, and AARP has been an amazing partner in that. Cities have done a great job redeploying staff whose former jobs were no longer needed. And nonprofits have stepped up, so there was, in Flint, Michigan, a medical transport nonprofit redeployed their staff and vehicles to ensure their clients are getting adequate nutrition. The vans used to move people, but now they're moving healthy food.

[00:49:14]Bill Walsh:  Right. Well that's great to hear, and of course, Mayor Gallego, you represent a large urban area. Dr. Strommen, I wanted to ask you about rural areas where we're seeing increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19. I wonder what the different resources are that are needed and available for family caregivers when we compare rural communities with more densely populated areas?

[00:49:40]Jane Strommen:  Thanks for that question. You know, when we think about the services that caregivers really need to be able to do their job, it's a wide array, and they really fall into maybe about four categories just to kind of explain it. And the first one is things that help the caregiver manage the logistics of that caregiving experience. Whether it's care coordination or management that people have assisted technology and equipment information referral systems. A second is really that direct support in providing care for their loved ones, whether it's adult day care, dementia care, homemaker, chore services, personal care, those types of things. A third area would be services that really help that caregiver do their task of providing care. It might be meal services that we just talked about, transportation, volunteer services or training and education. And the last is really around fostering the well-being of the caregiver, whether it's emotional support or respite care.

[00:50:54] So when you're looking at the rural communities in comparison to urban communities, I'm going to reference a study that we did here in North Dakota in 2016. It was a Family Caregiver Services and Support Study. And one of the findings from this study really showed a lack of appropriate and available services, especially in rural areas. Caregivers reported really insufficient access to respite care, and that was probably the most significant concern from the study. And we know that respite care is so important for caregivers to get a break from the continuing caregiving responsibilities. And so, without that break, there's that risk of caregivers burning out. 

[00:51:44] So, in addition, to respite care, the study also found gaps in other direct care services like personal care, adult day care and dementia care, and the homemaker and chore services. Really, it was a lack of available workforce or people to really fill these types of jobs that was often cited as a challenge in our rural communities. 

[00:52:08] Another challenge indicated in our study was the lack of transportation in rural areas, coupled with the need to travel such long distances for health care, especially to see specialists. Telehealth or telemedicine is being utilized more during this COVID-19 era, and it seems like this service would be very helpful to have available on an ongoing basis after the pandemic. Technology might be a great way to provide these other services such as the education and training, the counseling and emotional support or being able to find and connect to services that are out there. But we do know in rural areas there might be some issues in some parts of the country about having adequate broadband internet connection to support technology and helping some people feel comfortable using this type of technology. 

[00:53:07]Bill Walsh:  Right. Well, thank you for that. And while you were talking about caregiving resources, I wanted to just give a shout out to AARP's caregiving resources, which are really pretty robust. You can find them at aarp.org/caregiving. This is really a one-stop shop for tips and tools to help you care for a loved one. It's got valuable information about handling medical issues, health records, advanced directives, home safety, financial and legal issues, caregiver life balance and much more. You can find resources and support guides, and also, we've got a really supportive online community and a Facebook community as well, so you can connect with other caregivers and share best practices or frustrations and experiences. We also have a line you can call. If you need to talk to someone, you can call the AARP Caregiving Support Line at 877-333-5885. For Spanish resources, go to aarp.org/cuidar or call 888-971-2013. 

[00:54:20] And now I understand we have a lot of questions in the queue. Jean, who is waiting to ask a question? 

[00:54:28]Jean Setzfand:  We have Reggie from Colorado online. 

[00:54:32]Bill Walsh:  All right, Reggie, go ahead with your question. Reggie, are you there? 

[00:54:39]Reggie:  Can you hear me? 

[00:54:40]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, I can hear just fine. Go ahead with your question. 

[00:54:44]Reggie:  OK, so I am a grandparent raising a grandchild. I'm in the category of a full-time caregiver, and I believe one of the speakers mentioned if your child has the coronavirus, to put them in a room and isolate. But my question is about emotional versus physical balance.

[00:55:10] These kids, a lot of times, are being raised by us because they've already had trauma with their parents and isolating them is really difficult. Mine is 11 years old and she freaks out if I can't hug her, kiss her or whatever. So I'm just curious, you know, if you have any advice or input on balancing physical safety along with emotional health.

[00:55:34]Bill Walsh:  That's a tough situation. And thanks for that question. Dr. Rios, do you have any advice you can offer there? 

[00:55:40]Elena Rios:  I think that mental health is so important and especially with kids. I would actually ask the provider for referrals to the mental health team that the local providers, whether it's a doctor or a doctor's office or the health system or the public health department locally, usually there are phone lines where you can ask questions specifically there. I guess you really do have to have a balance and have time set aside, just as was mentioned earlier about making sure you take time for quality time, and really focus on the happy things of reading stories, music, art, things like that, that take your mind off of the situation that you're in. But I think the importance of quarantine or isolation is really so that you don't get sick. You know, you just have to balance it off, balance your day plan, but seek help. 

[00:56:57]Bill Walsh:  That's a difficult trade off, isn't it? Jean, do we have someone else in the queue? 

[00:57:05]Jean Fetzfand:  We have a question coming in from YouTube. Joyce from YouTube is asking, "During this pandemic what provisions and resources are being provided for caregivers as they care for their loved ones?"

[00:57:20]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Strommen, do you want to handle that question?

[00:57:27]Jane Strommen:  Yeah, the question was what kind of resources are available for caregivers to care for their loved ones. 

[00:57:34]Bill Walsh:  Right. Right. 

[00:57:37]Jane Strommen:  That's a great question. You know, I did talk about there's an array of services and supports that are available. But I could mention that caregivers certainly have needed to make some adjustments in this situation with COVID. For the most part, caregivers have been very understanding and have made those adjustments in their caregiving situation, and they're really doing the best that they can. But I just would make sure that caregivers are taking advantage of services that will limit their exposure to the virus, whether it's having their groceries or medications delivered, asking family members to run errands or pick up supplies, utilizing telehealth or other medical appointments. And we talked about respite care, that that's really important. And just an interesting thing that I learned from talking with an aging-network colleague in our state, in North Dakota, is that they're seeing caregivers putting respite care on hold. Probably for a couple of reasons, maybe not wanting somebody to come into their home that would increase their risk of exposure. But secondly, a lot of businesses are closed, and people are being encouraged to stay home. So some caregivers are wondering where would I go and what would I do if I did get that respite care service? But one of the things I wanted to mention is it might be good for people in other states to look at — in North Dakota they're starting to implement something called Virtual Respite, and the Family Caregiver Support Program and their Lifespan Respite Care Grant. There's an opportunity for family caregiver clients to utilize technology like an iPad so that their loved one can connect to a respite care worker remotely. And this respite care worker can interact with the loved one or care recipient by maybe having a friendly visit, playing a game, watching a TV show or a favorite movie together. The family caregiver still is going to be in the house. But it's going to give them a break and just some time for themselves. So, I think beyond looking and utilizing the services that are in your community and things like this that might be available, it's really important for those family caregivers to be intentional about doing something for themselves every week, and they actually plan it. And it doesn't have to be big. Maybe it's just going for a walk a couple of times a week and getting some fresh air, looking at different scenery. But the important thing is to have something to look forward to. So I'd say utilizing those services and doing something good for yourself, your self-care. 

[01:00:40]Bill Walsh:  All right, great advice. Jean, let's go to the next question in the queue. 

[01:00:54]Jean Setzfand:  Great, we have a call from Diane from Massachusetts. 

[01:00:57]Bill Walsh:  Diane, go ahead with your question. 

[01:00:59]Diane:  Hello. I'm wondering if it's safe for me as a 74-year-old to support my local restaurants by ordering delivery. I'm a little wary.

[01:01:13]Bill Walsh:  To support your local restaurants by having their food delivered?

[01:01:16]Diane:  Yes. 

[01:01:17]Bill Walsh:  OK. Mayor Gallego, maybe you could talk a little bit about that and talk about what accommodations you've seen restaurants there in Phoenix make. 

[01:01:28]Kate Gallego:  Absolutely. We have been relying on some great data from folks at John Hopkins School of Public Health that talked about as things come into your home some precautions that you can take. I understand Clorox wipes are like gold today, but if you have them, you can wipe off packaging before you touch them. If you take things into your home and open it up, we have heard recommendations that after that it's valuable to wash your hands just in case, especially if you are particularly vulnerable. I certainly would defer to doctors' recommendations on this, but what we have heard from public health officials is that unless you have a particular concern, that delivery is a way to support your restaurants and get some good nutrition, and we still feel the same way. Meals on Wheels has been a vital lifeline in almost every community, but those meal deliveries also are helping people, if you qualify for that. And again, it's a way to often, stay in your home and not go to a situation like a grocery store, which might be even higher risk. So many communities have a wide variety of meal delivery services. You may not qualify for Meals on Wheels, but then there's local delivery platforms or national ones like Uber Eats that can drop them off. And restaurants are so key to our community, so if we can support them and help them get through this, I feel like it's a win for our taste buds and a win for our communities.

[01:03:09]Bill Walsh:  Right. And I wonder also if you call your local restaurant and simply ask them what precautions they're taking to protect folks on the receiving end of their food. I know a number of restaurants have used this as a differentiator just to talk about all the special precautions they're taking to keep people safe. Jean, I wonder who's next on the line. 

[01:03:36]Jean Setzfand:  We have Peggy from Florida. 

[01:03:39]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Peggy, go ahead and ask your question. 

[01:03:41]Peggy:  Yes, the question that I have today, I'm 65, I'm a widow and I have respiratory challenges. I have multiple underlying conditions, and I have skimped on going to my doctor for my labs, those things that I must get one month, and now the doctor wants to do another CT scan and my echocardiogram because my multiple underlying conditions have to do with those organs. And so I'm just afraid. I just want to know what kind of suggestions you all may have for me visiting my doctors' offices and going to these labs to have my blood drawn and getting the CT scans. I'm just terrified of going. 

[01:04:42]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. 

[01:04:42]Peggy:  I haven't left my home since the pandemic started. 

[01:04:46]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Rios. I wonder if you would address that? We've heard a lot about people putting off elective surgery, but in this case, she's discussing even regular checkups for chronic conditions. Do you have any advice there? 

[01:05:01]Elena Rios:  Yeah, I honestly think that staying home is the best policy. If it's not something that needs immediate attention, and that's what we're talking about with elective surgeries. If it's something you can put off another month, better to put it off another month. I think things are going to open up in, I'll say this summer, I'll say June. You know we're already at May 1 tomorrow. And there will be less a feeling of anxiety as the doctors' offices, for example, do reach out to their patients. And there's no reason why you couldn't reschedule your lab draws. I would call them and let them know that you have this appointment or timeframe that you're supposed to be getting these tests, but you'd like to know if you can just put them off a month or two months.

[01:06:11]Bill Walsh:  Right. And Dr. Rios, aside from elective surgery, if somebody like the caller simply wants to check in with their doctor to monitor ongoing chronic conditions, it seems to me that many of those doctors are willing to just simply get on the phone and do a virtual visit that way. Have you found that as well? 

[01:06:34]Elena Rios:  Yeah, that's fine. I think that is important to call and talk to the nurses or to find out what they would suggest. And I think that they're more than willing to talk to people over telephones or over computers, what is known as telehealth or telemedicine. But I think this is happening everywhere where doctors and dentists, especially dentists, have closed offices. 

[01:07:06]Bill Walsh:  Right. 

[01:07:08]Elena Rios:  And unless there's an emergency … the hospitals are what are staying open for emergency patients.

[01:07:16]Bill Walsh:  Right. OK. Well, thank you for that. Jean, who's our next caller? 

[01:07:21]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Lori Ann from North Carolina.

[01:07:26]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Lori Ann, go ahead with your question.

[01:07:29]Lori Ann:  Yes. Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for this platform. It sounds like I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum from one of the earlier callers. I have been a caregiver with two underlying chronic conditions that suppress my immune system, but I'm doing well. But we're in a multigenerational home. My mother's 83, with multiple underlying conditions. My grandmother is 102. June 2 she will be a 103, God willing. My question is that she's on home hospice. She's been diagnosed with vascular dementia about a year and a half ago, but she's intermittent with it. But my question is, we put all this distance in place. Hospice now does one televisit a week and the other they come in person. Our home health assistant wears a mask, we wear masks, but my grandmother looked at us last week and kind of put a tissue over her mouth cause everybody else has it, because again, her diagnosis is relatively new. But it's progressing daily, dementia, but she's still cognitive many times. But we usually bless her. We're an African American family, hug her, kiss her every night. She's 102, almost going on 103. I don't mean to be repetitive. What restrictions can, I mean, it's a balance between what you said, my heart and my mind. I know what the right thing in my mind to do is, but as my mom said, I miss kissing my mother. She realizes that every night my mother gives her a kiss, and we put her to bed and we bless her. And we've just kind of been hands-off except for when we have to be, and we wear masks and gloves and constantly sanitize our hands. Are there any restrictions being that we're at the opposite end, I mean, I don't know, God could have 10 years left for her. What restrictions can we begin to lift in our home or is that advisable or not?

[01:09:06]Bill Walsh:  Right. Dr. Rios, do you have any advice for that particular situation? 

[01:09:12]Elena Rios:  Well, I think if, again, it goes back to whether the patient, the person, the grandmother, the mother in your household has the virus. If they're don't have the virus, it's you that has to be more careful. If you're going out and you're coming back in, you're the one that needs to wash your hands more. And be careful about how you interact with them because you're bringing in the potential germ, the potential virus. But for them, I think it's just really having your habits of being close and goodnight kiss and all of that, there's nothing wrong with that. I think that's fine. I think it's really about you because you’re the one going outside. You just need to be more careful of the way you're interacting with them. That's all. 

[01:10:19]Bill Walsh:  Right. 

[01:10:20]Elena Rios:  I mean, it's like when you think about what hospice is all about, the hospice situation is the person is really, you're just trying to keep them comfortable. And it's the quality of the time because you have little time just by definition and you want to be around that person and have them feel comfortable and not feel isolated. I guess that's the most important thing. 

[01:11:00]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good point. Jean, who do we have next in the queue? 

[01:11:06]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question coming in from Facebook Live. This question is from Robin, and she asks, "I've seen a 'granny pad' advertised on TV where it's supposed to be easy for the elderly to use. What are your thoughts? I think it's a good thing. I just don't know. Just asking on behalf of my grandmother. 

[01:11:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Mayor Gallego. Do you want to take this one? Are you familiar with granny pads? Are there many of them in the Phoenix area? 

[01:11:33]Kate Gallego:  We don't use that term, but actually AARP has been wonderful in providing information about how we can build for all ages as the city has partnered to expand our housing supply. We have been looking at multigenerational housing and just talking to our nonprofit partners about building houses that have things like hallways and doors that accommodate wheelchairs, different design elements that allow someone to stay in place as they age or transition through different levels of care. We have great partners, and I think many communities have facilities that have different types of living situations, all located on one campus, where if your needs for health care and assistance progress, you can stay in the same location and stay in touch with their community and friends. I think this is a different problem than is related to this question. But we've had great luck with grand families and trying to design housing that recognizes that many grandparents are the primary caregivers. And we have a few facilities in Phoenix that are set up exactly for grandparents who are caretakers for their kids. And that, I think, has gotten good reviews from both the kids and the grandparents, which I feel like in my household, if the grandparents and the kid is happy, that's success. 

[01:13:08]Bill Walsh:  OK. And I said “granny pads” because that was what the questioner used. They're also known as accessory dwelling units, of course. Jean, what is the next question in the queue? 

[01:13:22]Jean Setzfand:  Our next question comes from Madeline from Missouri. 

[01:13:26]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Madeline. Go ahead with your question. 

[01:13:29]Madeline:  Hi. Thank you for taking the question. My mother, who is 92, lives in an assisted living facility, and on or about 3/17, they locked down the facility to no visitors, no communal activities, no communal dining. So she was basically by herself for a month, and she would call my sister and I three and four times a day saying she was lonely, and she wanted visitors, and she wanted people to come stay with her. And so the catalyst was when she called us both crying about 8:30 at night saying that she couldn't stay there anymore, and she wanted somebody to come and get her. So immediately we went to go get her the next day. That was on or about 4/16. So now she's been here for two weeks and she's obviously feeling better, feeling stronger. But now she wants to go back home. And although we explained to her when we took her that the CDC probably wouldn't allow it, she's kind of insisting. And I know what the right thing to do is to keep her here, but because of her underlying anxiety and forgetfulness issues and all of that, I just want to make her as comfortable as possible. If you have any suggestions as to what I should do.

[01:14:58]Bill Walsh:  To make her as comfortable at home, at your home as possible? 

[01:15:02]Madeline:  Either at home as possible or should I call the facility and see if it's OK for her to go back. And I'm thinking if it's going to be extended, you know, the same thing is just going to happen if we take her back. 

[01:15:17]Bill Walsh:  Right. This has been such a big issue, right, and not all nursing homes or assisted living facilities have been sharing information about what's happening inside their walls, even while there's very little communication between the residents and families. Dr. Strommen, I wonder if you could address this particular situation.

[01:15:39]Jane Strommen:  Yes, I would be happy to. You know, it's been just a really kind of heartbreaking situation with so many older adults that are in our care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living, to not be able to be out and about and not to see their family and friends. And it's really caused anxiety for some people. And I think that we have to acknowledge that. It's not been easy to do that. And for some it's been hard to understand why this is needed, why they can't have family coming in to see them during this time. So if your mother is feeling better, and she has been able to acclimate to your home right now, it seems like it would be best if she just is able to stay there, and you kind of try to assess what you all need, you as a caregiver, and her, what are the needs and probably make a plan and then see, are there some types of services that you might be able to get into your home that would help your mom or to help you. Perhaps you want to talk to the senior center about getting meals delivered. Find out what other services might be available. It seems like if she's going to go back to the facility, if they would take back readmissions, she might be back in the same situation where she'd have a lot of anxiety about not being around her family and being able to see the family. So I’d really think about what you would need for it to work in terms of emotional support and physical support for your mom to continue staying in your house. 

[01:17:44]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, it's a very difficult one, and as listeners may know, AARP has been very active on the nursing home and assisted living front. One resource I'd like to recommend is at aarp.org/coronavirus, we have the six questions to ask care facilities and so, for this particular call, or that would be questions to ask before considering even putting your loved one back in there. If you've got a loved one in assisted living facility or nursing home, this is a time to be a very strong advocate for them and don't be afraid to pose these questions and really demand answers. OK, Jean, who else do we have next in the queue? 

[01:18:29]Jean Setzfand:  We have Jeanette from Florida. 

[01:18:32]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Jeanette, go ahead with your question. 

[01:18:35]Jeanette:  Hi, yes, I have a daughter and her family that live less than a mile away from me, and we've all been self-quarantined. The question is, my daughter's husband does go out daily to work, and of course he uses all the COVID-19 precautions. But I was wondering if we can all get together if we all got tested for coronavirus? And if we all were negative, would we be able to get together or is it still too much of a risk because the husband goes out to work?

[01:19:09]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Rios, I wonder if you could address that. I think the CDC has had some guidelines about who is able to get tested and also some of the accuracy of the tests.

[01:19:18]Elena Rios:  I think the, the guidelines, and I don't have them right in front of me, but I do think that it's important to realize that it really depends on the age of the person. It's the older, above 65, or persons that have underlying health conditions, especially respiratory problems like asthma or COPD. Those are the people that are supposed to be first in line to have testing. Since there wasn't that many tests available, I would call your doctors to find out if they have access to more testing in certain states or certain cities. But I think because of the lack of tests available, there has been a limit to those who really need it. And I think that the best guidance, without having being tested, is to have the social distancing. So if you're in the home together, a few people, that you not sit next to each other. You know, you sit in different parts of the room and that's the best guidance, and washing your hands and after everybody leaves, cleaning doorknobs and that type of thing. 

[01:20:57]Bill Walsh:  Right. And for, in this particular case, she was asking about the husband leaving the house every day to go to work. What would you advise for him when he comes back in the house every day? 

[01:21:07]Elena Rios:  Yeah, I think, leaving shoes outside is something that has been recognized, and also, in terms of clothing. If they are around a lot of people, it depends on where they work, but leaving their clothes in a hamper, let's say. And taking a shower before you interact with everybody else is the most safe thing that people are recommending now. Especially for frontline workers like grocery store workers and hospital workers that are seeing a lot of people. If they're working, with just a few people and they're not really interacting with a lot of the public, then it's a different story.

[01:22:00]Bill Walsh:  OK. Well, and thank you for that. We're coming up on the end of our call. So, Dr. Rios, Dr. Strommen, and Mayor Gallego, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations that AARP members should understand most from our conversation today? Dr. Rios, how about if we start with you? 

[01:22:20]Elena Rios:  I would say that AARP has done a great job in educating our elders. And I shouldn't say that cause I'm an elder myself, but everybody over 50 that has been able to access information from AARP or has been a member, knows how much AARP does care for their constituents. And I think it's really important to get engaged and let others know about the importance of AARP as a resource. And certainly for the guidelines about COVID-19, to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is known as CDC. And their website is cdc.gov and right at the front page you'll see "coronavirus information" right away. So thank you and that you for that.

[01:23:17]Bill Walsh:  Thank you, Dr. Rios. Oh yeah, it was a delight to have you on the call today. Dr. Strommen, any closing thoughts or recommendations from you?

[01:23:27]Jane Strommen:  Well, I just want to thank you for having this event and getting the word out on this important topic. And I would also reiterate, AARP has great resources. I tell family caregivers all the time to go there and look, and our extension has great resources on talking to your kids, older adults. But I'd really say to people, kind of a one takeaway is that the organizations that have been helping older adults all along and family caregivers all along are still doing that. They've just adjusted their ways. And I would really reach out to your local senior center. Every state has a state aging services, and they have staff located in regional and local areas. Reach out to them and find out how they've made adjustments. They are being very intentional about serving family caregivers and older adults, and in new ways, just adjusting to this COVID era.

[01:24:28]Bill Walsh:  Right, there's been a lot of innovation out there, a lot we can learn from this difficult time. So thank you, Dr. Strommen. Mayor Gallego, any closing thoughts, recommendations from your point of view? 

[01:24:39]Kate Gallego:  I wanted to say thank you to the all the inspiring folks out there who have been acting as caregivers during such difficult times, whether you're caring for a parent or a child, it is an act of love, but it is one that is much more difficult in the era of COVID-19, so thank you for stepping up. It certainly makes me proud of our country. I also, again, want to say thank you to all the people who have made changes to their lives that have bent that curve and help our health care system fight COVID-19. Very difficult changes to everyone's lives, but it really is paying off in lives saved, and so thank you. I sort of echo a previous statement, but if you are in a crisis situation and need resources, I would be tenacious and keep asking until you find what it is. If you're fighting domestic violence, there are still resources to help you get to a safe situation. If you don't have the food you need, keep looking and AARP can be a resource area, agencies on aging, you can call your local government. There are resources out there, so you may have to be your own advocate, but I would keep working to make sure you know what you need. It is tough times, but we'll work to get it. So, thank you to AARP also, a fabulous resource for me as a mayor when we make tough decisions and a great resource for our country. Thank you. 

[01:26:09]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you all. This has been a really informative discussion. We appreciate our experts, as well as our listeners, and thank you AARP members, our volunteers and listeners for participating in discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we are providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. 

[01:26:43] All of the resources we referenced in today's call, including a recording, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. I also wanted to let our listeners know that all those resources, or most of them, are in Spanish as well at aarp.org/elcoronavirus. So please check out those excellent Spanish language resources. Go to aarp.org/coronavirus if your question was not addressed, and you’ll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. 

[01:27:24] We hope you learned something that you can keep with you and help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy. Please be sure to tune in on Thursday, May 7. We'll have two tele-town halls. The first is, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time will address how you can stay safe and protected from the coronavirus and protect your bank account from scammers. The second event, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, will address how you can manage your career, business and income. So we'll be back on May 7 and we hope you'll join us. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

 

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 30, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

BILL WALSH: Hola. Soy Bill Walsh, vicepresidente de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus.

AARP, una organización compuesta de socios, sin fines de lucro y no partidista ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país 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 los desafíos únicos de cuidar a sus seres queridos durante la pandemia.

Prestaremos especial atención a los abuelos que cuidan a sus nietos, y a aquellos en la generación del medio, que cuidan a niños y miembros mayores de la familia. También abordaremos un problema que ha generado muchas preguntas recientemente: cheques de estímulo.

Si ha participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabe que es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tiene la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Si desea hacer una pregunta sobre el cuidado de padres, hijos o nietos, presione * 3 en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y lo colocará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Hola. Si recién se une a nosotros, soy Bill Walsh de AARP, y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Tenemos tres invitados maravillosos con nosotros hoy. Se unen a nosotros Jane Strommen, Ph.D., profesora adjunta de Práctica en North Dakota State University; Kate Gallego, alcaldesa de la ciudad de Phoenix en Arizona, y la Dra. Elena Rios, presidenta y directora ejecutiva de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos.

También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand. Jean será nuestra organizadora y ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

AARP está convocando esta teleasamblea para ayudarlo a acceder a información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien vemos que AARP cumple un papel importante en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el coronavirus, debe saber que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud son los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades.

Puede visitar www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Este evento está siendo grabado y puede acceder a la grabación en www.aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después del evento.

Hoy estaremos hablando con expertos sobre el cuidado de los seres queridos de todas las edades durante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3. Pero antes de adentrarnos en nuestro tema, me gustaría informarles brevemente sobre algunas cosas que AARP ha estado haciendo para abogar por los socios y todos los consumidores.

Hemos luchado para garantizar que las personas cuya principal fuente de ingresos es el Seguro Social reciban pagos de hasta $1,200 bajo el reciente paquete de estímulo económico. Hemos defendido a las personas

mayores más vulnerables al ayudar a asegurar un mayor financiamiento

para programas críticos como Meals on Wheels. También hemos impulsado la ampliación de los beneficios del seguro de desempleo, así como la licencia por enfermedad remunerada, las visitas virtuales en hogares de ancianos y la licencia familiar para las personas que necesitan tomarse un tiempo libre para cuidar de sí mismos o de sus seres queridos.

Si bien hemos estado trabajando arduamente en Washington, D.C., los representantes de AARP en todo el país también luchan por usted al trabajar con los encargados de formular políticas estatales en una variedad de temas. Quiero compartir algunos ejemplos.

En Alaska y Míchigan, ayudamos a ampliar el acceso a la telesalud. En Carolina del Norte, Nueva York y Nueva Jersey, AARP está luchando para ampliar las licencias pagas y de emergencia para los trabajadores. En Carolina del Sur, Illinois, Míchigan, Massachusetts, Nueva York, Nueva Jersey, California y Wisconsin, AARP está trabajando para garantizar que las personas tengan acceso a la información y la atención médica necesaria relacionada con el coronavirus, y que sus líderes aborden los problemas subyacentes de hambre, acceso a la salud, transporte y más.

Finalmente, y muy importante, las oficinas estatales de AARP en todo el país están luchando para aumentar la transparencia sobre los casos de coronavirus en centros de cuidado de personas mayores, como hogares de

ancianos y vida asistida. Están luchando para conseguir equipos de protección suficientes para el personal y los residentes de hogares de ancianos, llevar la tecnología de las comunicaciones a los centros de cuidado y asegurarse de que las personas no sean dadas de alta o transferidas de manera inapropiada.

Todos estos son temas importantes para los adultos mayores. Y la protección de AARP no sería posible sin las llamadas telefónicas, los correos electrónicos y las acciones de los socios y voluntarios de AARP y los adultos mayores de todo el país. Así que gracias.

Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados. Primero, Jane Strommen, Ph.D., profesora adjunta de Práctica en North Dakota State University Extension. Tiene más de 30 años de experiencia trabajando con adultos mayores y sus familias en diversos entornos, incluidos los hogares de ancianos, viviendas asistidas, viviendas para personas mayores y cuidado en viviendas comunitarias.

Ella es responsable de la divulgación educativa en Dakota del Norte en numerosas áreas, como la prevención de caídas, el envejecer bien, la promoción de la salud y el cuidado familiar. Bienvenida, Dra. Strommen.

JANE STROMMEN: Gracias por invitarme.

BILL WALSH: Gracias por estar aquí. En segundo lugar, Kate Gallego. Ella es la alcaldesa de Phoenix, Arizona. Ella es la segunda mujer alcaldesa electa en la historia de Phoenix. Y a los 38 años, es la alcaldesa más joven de una ciudad grande en Estados Unidos.

A la alcaldesa Gallego le apasiona construir un Phoenix que funcione para todos y aumentar la calidad de vida de todos los residentes de Phoenix. Se ha centrado en tres áreas políticas clave durante su tiempo en el cargo: diversificar la economía, fortalecer la inversión en infraestructura y trabajar para hacer de Phoenix un líder en sostenibilidad. Gracias por estar aquí, alcaldesa Gallego.

KATE GALLEGO: Encantada de participar.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Y finalmente, la Dra. Elena Rios, presidenta y directora ejecutiva de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos, que representa a los médicos hispanos en Estados Unidos. También es presidenta de la National Hispanic Health Foundation, afiliada a la Escuela Graduada de Servicio Público Robert F. Wagner de la University of New York.

La Dra. Rios fue nombrada miembro del Minority Alumni Hall of Fame de Stanford University y fue nombrada una de los 100 hispanos

más influyentes e innovadores por la revista Hispanic Business. Gracias Dra. Rios.

ELENA RIOS: Encantada de estar aquí.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, gracias a todas por acompañarnos hoy. Comencemos con nuestra discusión. Y solo un recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, presione * 3. Dra. Strommen, comencemos con usted.

¿Qué consejo le daría a los abuelos que cuidan a sus nietos durante

la crisis de salud pública? ¿Cómo pueden ayudar a sus nietos a permanecer socialmente conectados con amigos y seres queridos, incluso mientras están físicamente distanciados?

JANE STROMMEN: Gracias, Bill, por esa pregunta. Solo para comenzar, cuando hablamos de abuelos que cuidan a sus nietos, en realidad hay tres roles comunes que desempeñan los abuelos.

Uno son los abuelos de guarderías que brindan atención diaria regular, generalmente a niños muy pequeños. Y luego está la convivencia con los abuelos, los que viven con un nieto, pero no tienen la custodia legal. Y tercero están los abuelos que tienen la custodia, y tienen una responsabilidad legal para con su nieto.

Por hoy, hablaremos de los abuelos que crían a sus nietos, lo que significa que viven juntos. Y mantenerlos felices, saludables y aprendiendo durante esta orden de quedarse en casa, conlleva algunas preocupaciones especiales.

Los adultos mayores tienen un mayor riesgo de enfermarse gravemente

con COVID-19, y deben tomar precauciones especiales para reducir su riesgo y centrarse en su propia salud y bienestar.

Simplemente tengo algunas estrategias para facilitar un poco las cosas para los abuelos y los nietos. Los abuelos realmente deberían ser amables consigo mismos y amables con sus expectativas en este momento.

Y deben recordar que la mayoría de nosotros no estábamos preparados para esto.

Si sienten algo de ansiedad, algo de miedo, preocupación, todo esto es normal. La rutina es tu amiga. Sabemos que la mayoría de los niños de todas las edades prosperan cuando tienen alguna rutina predecible. Por lo tanto, si tienes nietos en edad preescolar o más grandes, pídeles ayuda para desarrollar una rutina diaria.

Otro punto sería hablar con sus nietos sobre COVID-19. Existen recursos apropiados para la edad, disponibles para guiar estas importantes discusiones. Llegar a la escuela. Hay mucha incertidumbre sobre el regreso a la escuela. Y muchos abuelos se preocupan por no poder ayudar a sus nietos. No tengas miedo de pedir ayuda.

Y por último, cuida tu salud. Come bien, duerme, haz suficiente ejercicio, controla el estrés. E incluso si parece imposible, trata de encontrar algo de tiempo para ti. Con respecto a mantener a los nietos socialmente conectados, en realidad se guía por su edad, sus intereses y la naturaleza de sus relaciones con otros miembros de la familia y amigos. Aquí hay solo unas pocas ideas.

Podrías usar FaceTime y hacer que otros seres queridos le lean cuentos

a nietos más jóvenes. Podrías celebrar cumpleaños y días festivos con algunas fiestas de Zoom. O puedes disfrutar de una comida virtual con familiares. Organiza citas virtuales de juego para niños más pequeños, tal vez permitiendo que nietos mayores asistan a conciertos virtuales con sus amigos. Este grupo es bastante inteligente para mantenerse conectado con sus amigos.

Y luego, por último, pero no menos importante, llama a familiares y amigos por el teléfono para mantenerte conectado.

BILL WALSH: Sí, es un buen punto. Se me ocurrió mientras la estaba escuchando, que tal vez los nietos tienen algo que enseñarle a sus abuelos acerca de mantenerse socialmente conectados mientras se distancian físicamente.

JANE STROMMEN: Absolutamente.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Gracias por eso. Alcaldesa Gallego, quería preguntarle cómo los Gobiernos locales y las empresas están ayudando a las personas que cuidan a sus seres queridos durante la pandemia. ¿Qué es lo que ve en Phoenix y otras comunidades que nuestros oyentes deben saber?

KATE GALLEGO: Tanto los gobiernos locales como nuestras empresas realmente han intentado acercarse y apoyar a las personas en lo que para muchos puede ser uno de los desafíos más difíciles que hayan enfrentado. Y primero solo quiero agradecer a todos los que se han quedado en casa y desaceleran la propagación de COVID-19. Como país, hemos aplanado la curva y frenado la propagación de este terrible virus en nuestra comunidad.

Eso es salvar vidas, y creo que no agradecemos lo suficiente a las personas que están haciendo enormes sacrificios para que podamos salvar vidas en el país. Entonces, quería comenzar con eso. Les aconsejo que miren a sus Gobiernos locales como fuentes clave de información. Casi todas las ciudades, en su página de inicio, tienen información sobre recursos, y muchas son bastante amplias. Las ciudades muestran información sobre las horas de atención de la población mayor y vulnerable en las tiendas de comestibles. Muchas tiendas de comestibles

tienen horarios especialmente destinados para adultos mayores. Y pueden averiguarlo directamente de ellos o de sus ciudades.

Muchas ciudades también compartirán información sobre cómo puede recibir servicios, ya sea alimentos u otro tipo de apoyo, a domicilio. Muchos están ofreciendo recreación en línea y realmente están tratando de avanzar.

Hablamos de las historias de FaceTime y de mantenerse conectados en línea. Los Gobiernos locales están, en algunas comunidades, comprando tabletas para ayudar a una variedad de grupos diferentes, ya sea personas en hogares de ancianos o familias en el hogar, a mantenerse conectados. Estamos intentando que las personas que no tienen internet tengan más acceso en este momento.

Soy la madre de un niño de tres años en este momento, y estoy tratando de que continúe aprendiendo y que obtenga esos excelentes recursos, mientras no va a lo que la mayoría de la gente llamaría guardería, pero nosotros llamamos escuela.

BILL WALSH: ¿Cómo hace eso, sirviendo de alcaldesa al mismo tiempo?

KATE GALLEGO: Bueno, él está en la “guardería de papá” ahora mismo, para que yo pueda prestar toda mi atención a esta importante conversación de AARP. Pero mi hijo de tres años ha aparecido en muchas, muchas llamadas de Zoom, al igual que el perro. He aprendido que ambos son más populares que la alcaldesa.

Pero es un verdadero desafío. Mis padres solían cuidar a mi hijo todos los días. Y desde que COVID comenzó, eso no es algo que hayamos podido hacer. Yo sigo trabajando, y por ende expuesta al virus, y no quiero ser quien lo transmita a mi familia.

Por lo tanto, hemos tenido que estar conectados a través de la tecnología en lugar de en persona. Y eso ha sido realmente difícil. Y es algo para todos aquellos que están cuidando a personas en este momento, solo quiero expresar mi comprensión total.

El miembro de la familia que tomó mi mano cuando nació mi hijo ha estado en el hospital. Y debido a la prohibición de visitantes, no me queda otra que FaceTime. No es lo mismo, pero es mejor que nada. Entonces, estoy agradecida a los Gobiernos estatales y locales que están tratando de habilitar esa conectividad para aquellos que aún no la tienen.

Para aquellos que sí la tienen, definitivamente, les animo a que la usen. Creo que muchas personas tuvieron experiencias divertidas durante la Pascua, y otras fiestas en las que puede que no sea lo mismo en tanto a las tradiciones familiares, pero seguramente será una de las más memorables. Y así, espero que hayan habido algunos buenos recuerdos durante estos tiempos difíciles.

BILL WALSH: Creo que todos estamos aprendiendo a manejar los golpes y a ser flexibles y resilientes durante este tiempo. Dra. Strommen, quería continuar con un tema que la alcaldesa Gallego mencionó, y era sobre cómo las personas pueden equilibrar el trabajo, cuidar a un ser querido mayor, mientras cuidan a niños cuyas escuelas o guarderías están cerradas, y puede que se mantengan cerradas por un buen tiempo.

JANE STROMMEN: Bueno, esa es una buena pregunta. Y los cuidadores que cuidan a sus propios hijos pequeños y a sus familiares mayores se llaman cuidadores de la generación del medio. Y están haciendo malabarismos

con múltiples responsabilidades, escuela, trabajo, cuidado de niños, otras tareas de la vida diaria, además de cuidar a un adulto mayor. Cuando se hace realmente difícil equilibrar todo este cuidado con las demandas de la vida, pueden sentirse abrumados y estresados fácilmente, por lo que la necesidad de equilibrar la vida y el cuidado se vuelve realmente importante para su propia salud y bienestar.

Por lo tanto, algunas cosas que recomendaría a las personas que cuidan a niños y miembros mayores de la familia, sería establecer algunos límites claros. Indica lo que puedes y no puedes hacer, y ten en cuenta que está bien decir que no a veces.

Las personas no son seres sobrehumanos, y necesitan determinar

sus propias necesidades, ya sea dar una caminata de 15 minutos o una videollamada regular con amigos. Asume la responsabilidad de hacer que esas cosas sucedan. Otro punto sería priorizar las cosas que son realmente importantes, esas actividades, y eliminar esas actividades no esenciales de la lista. Ahora no es el momento de presionarse más.

Por lo tanto, sea flexible y use cualquier enfoque para simplificar la vida en este momento. Otro problema es pedir ayuda. No sea reacio a solicitar la ayuda de otros parientes, amigos, vecinos, miembros de la iglesia. Los niños también pueden participar en las tareas domésticas. Puede haber otros miembros de la familia que no pueden proporcionar la atención primaria en este momento, pero pueden hacer otras cosas, como administrar las finanzas o tal vez proporcionar transporte a las citas médicas.

Otro punto importante es comunicarse con las escuelas o centros para personas mayores para obtener información sobre formas alternativas de obtener comidas. Ambos han cambiado la forma en que entregan comidas nutritivas a adultos mayores y niños en este momento.

Otra cosa importante es comunicarse. Ya sea que estés proporcionando actualizaciones periódicas a otros miembros de la familia, puedes usar cosas como correo electrónico, grupos de texto, documentos de Google Drive, aplicaciones como Lotsa Helping Hands, solo mantén a todos en el mismo.

Otra cosa importante es planificar con anticipación. El cuidado puede durar años e incluso décadas, por lo que es importante tomarse el tiempo para investigar qué apoyos existen, como la atención de relevo y la guardería para adultos en la comunidad y sus costos. Habla con tu empleador. Comprueba si hay alguna opción para trabajar desde casa o flexibilidad para trabajar en horarios diferentes. ¿Qué tipo de beneficios tiene tu empleador para licencia pagada o no pagada?

Y lo último sería buscar un poco de equilibrio. Realmente necesitamos ser flexibles y enfocarnos en nuestras necesidades y las de nuestra familia. Y sabrás que cada día y cada semana serán diferentes, y eso está bien.

BILL WALSH: Muchas gracias, Dra. Strommen. Muchos buenos consejos. Y mientras hablaba, recordé, en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus, tenemos muchos recursos para los 40 millones de cuidadores familiares en este país, incluido cómo crear un plan de cuidados antes de que ocurra una emergencia. Y también toca varios puntos que la Dra. Strommen mencionó. Así que gracias por compartir eso.

Dra. Rios, me gustaría integrarla a la conversación. ¿Qué debe hacer alguien si un niño o un nieto da positivo para COVID-19? Si un adulto mayor es su cuidador principal o vive en el mismo hogar, ¿cómo pueden

estar en cuarentena de manera segura mientras tratan de no enfermarse?

ELENA RIOS: Bueno, déjame responder la primera pregunta primero. Si hay un paciente positivo que es su hijo o nieto, es importante, como cualquier otro paciente, asegurarse de que la abuela o el abuelo entiendan las instrucciones del proveedor de atención médica, y especialmente para los medicamentos que ayudarán a la fiebre o la tos asociada con la COVID-19.

Y también, asegurarse de tener en mente que el paciente, el niño, podría empeorar. Y es importante entender que el síntoma que empeora es realmente la falta de respiración. Y esto, para las personas que tienen asma, los niños que tienen asma, puede llegar más rápido y agravar aún más su asma.

Pero para los niños que no tienen asma, y de repente, sienten algo nuevo,

falta de respiración, que nunca antes habían experimentado, generalmente les termina generando un poco de ansiedad, y la frecuencia cardíaca

y frecuencia respiratoria se aceleran. Y creo que es importante que respire profundamente y que los abuelos vigilen al paciente más de cerca si experimentan falta de aire. Y si hay alguna indicación de que el paciente no puede calmarse, los abuelos deben llamar al médico, al proveedor de atención médica o a la clínica, o incluso al 911

si es necesario.

Sin embargo, si llama al 911, es importante asegurarse de que el despachador sepa que se trata de un paciente COVID-19. Y luego, la segunda pregunta sobre cómo cuidarse uno mismo en cuarentena, debe estar lo más alejado posible del niño para mantener lo que llamamos distancia

social, estar a seis pies del paciente dentro de lo posible, y en realidad estar en otra habitación, asegurándose de que la casa tenga flujo de aire para que el aire salga por la ventana tanto como sea posible.

Y supongo que lo más importante también para el paciente y la abuela, nuestro cuidador, es mantener continuamente las cosas limpias, lavarse las manos, no tocarse la cara, limpiar las perillas de las puertas, desinfectar las áreas donde el niño puede haber estado jugando

para mantener el virus, tanto como sea posible, lejos de ti, de la abuela o del abuelo.

Además, el niño, la indicación ahora es que si tiene más de dos años, los niños mayores de dos años que tienen la COVID-19 deben usar una mascarilla. Una mascarilla facial es solo otra forma de proteger a la abuela, los abuelos, así que creo que eso es importante.

Me detendré ahí. Creo que es...

BILL WALSH: Hay muchos buenos consejos.

ELENA RIOS: Toda esta información.

BILL WALSH: Es un buen consejo. Es una situación muy complicada, porque los adultos mayores son muy susceptibles a los efectos negativos de COVID y, sin embargo, con frecuencia también son los principales cuidadores de los niños pequeños.

Por lo tanto, deben estar atentos y tomar el tipo de precauciones de las que habló. Gracias por eso. También quiero tomarme un momento, realmente solo para agradecerle especialmente a usted y a sus miembros, Dra. Ríos, y a todos los trabajadores de la salud por su dedicación, trabajo duro y valentía para combatir esta pandemia. Es un verdadero servicio a la nación.

Me gustaría volver a nuestros oyentes. Tomemos algunas llamadas para la Dra. Jane Strommen, la alcaldesa Kate Gallego y la Dra. Elena Rios. Solo un recordatorio, presione * 3 en su teclado en cualquier momento para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta.

Me gustaría presentar a mi colega, Jane Setzfand, para ayudar a facilitar

sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenida Jean.

JEAN SETZFAND: Gracias, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí para esta conversación.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, pasemos a nuestra primera pregunta. ¿A quien tenemos?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos a Donna de Maryland.

BILL WALSH: Bueno Donna, adelante, haga su pregunta.

DONNA: Hola, sí. Tengo la custodia de mis 3 nietos y tengo 71 años con problemas de salud subyacentes. Pero mi pregunta es, y la última dama que acaba de hablar respondió a algunas de ellas, que de todos modos era lo que imaginaba.

Pero una vez que salen y hacen cosas, cuando regresan a la casa, si no están infectados, podrían ser asintomáticos, así que ¿debería hacer que tomen una ducha? No sé cómo lidiar con eso una vez que salen de aquí.

BILL WALSH: Sí, comprendo. Incluso para un niño que puede ser asintomático, usted pregunta: ¿qué deberían estar haciendo? Van a estar yendo y viniendo de la casa, tal vez jugando con amigos. Dra. Strommen, ¿quiere abordar eso? Y tal vez la Dra. Rios también intervenga.

JANE STROMMEN: Sí. Para los niños que van y vienen, creo que los abuelos deben mantenerse informados y comprender todas las precauciones que deben tomar para protegerse, porque sabemos que corren un mayor riesgo. Y si viven en el hogar, se convierte en un gran desafío.

Realmente recurriría a los proveedores de atención médica para obtener información sobre las cosas que deben hacer, en cuanto a la ropa sucia y la limpieza, y ese tipo de cosas. Creo que recurriría a la Dra. Ríos para proporcionar algunas de esas instrucciones más detalladas a los abuelos.

BILL WALSH: Dra. Rios, ¿puede opinar sobre algunas de las mejores prácticas para Donna en Maryland?

ELENA RIOS: Sí, realmente creo que es importante saber con quién se está juntando el niño, en sí. Y creo que a la mayoría de las familias en este momento se les dice que no hagan que sus hijos socialicen con otros y que traten de mantenerlos dentro de los límites de su hogar y afuera. Pero, como a todo el mundo, se le dice que se distancien socialmente, por lo que es importante mantener el menor contacto con otros amigos y otras familias en este momento.

Con eso, si no están realmente en contacto con otros, tienen menos posibilidades de enfermarse. Y creo que lo importante es que las mejores prácticas, en realidad, son simplemente lavarse las manos y no tocarse la cara y usar sus propias tazas, vasos y platos y ese tipo de cosas.

Solo trata de minimizar el contacto con otros, tal vez no compartir toallas, ese tipo de cosas. Si tienes tres hijos diferentes, nunca sabes lo que va a pasar. Si uno se enferma, todos se enfermarán, ¿verdad? Creo que es importante monitorear y hacerles saber que no deben salir con amigos.

BILL WALSH: Bien, muchas gracias. Jean, ¿tenemos otra llamada en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí. Tenemos a Faye de Ohio.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Faye. Adelante con su pregunta.

FAYE: Gracias por atender mi llamada. Bueno, creo que ustedes básicamente la han respondido. Se trataba de los nietos. No he visto al mío, desafortunadamente, en casi dos meses. Y mi pregunta básicamente era, están levantando algunas cosas aquí en Cincinnati, Ohio. No voy a salir, pero quiero invitarlos. Tengo 61 años. No tengo ninguna condición

médica que yo sepa. Y solo están cerca de sus padres. Y mi pregunta era, cuando los reciba en la casa, ¿debería seguir usando una mascarilla?

No uso mi mascarilla en la casa. Solo he salido un par de veces al supermercado en casi ocho semanas.

Y mi pregunta es, ¿debería usar una mascarilla y debería hacer que ellos usen una dentro la casa? No los voy a sacar a ningún lado.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Dra. Rios, ¿quiere dar algún consejo? Y tal vez la alcaldesa Gallego, sé que tiene un niño pequeño. Tal vez también quiera opinar sobre eso.

ELENA RIOS: Sí, solo diré que los CDC no tienen ninguna recomendación oficial sobre el uso de mascarillas dentro de su hogar. A menos que de positivo para COVID, el paciente debe usar una mascarilla. Eso es todo lo que podría decir en este momento.

BILL WALSH: Entonces, ¿su respuesta es que solo la persona que ha sido diagnosticada con COVID debería usar la máscara?

ELENA RIOS: Correcto, correcto.

BILL WALSH: Está bien. Alcaldesa Gallego, ¿quería opinar sobre esa pregunta de Faye en Cincinnati?

KATE GALLEGO: Sí, absolutamente. Como mencioné, soy madre de un niño de tres años. Los CDC dicen que tanto los niños de tres años como sus madres deben usar mascarillas cuando están fuera. Dios bendiga a esas madres que pueden hacer que un niño de tres años use una mascarilla. No tengo esa habilidad particular de persuasión.

Por lo tanto, hemos estado tratando, en la medida de lo posible, de no ir a ningún lado con él donde estaría en contacto con la gente. Él sale conmigo cuando paseamos al perro. Pero cuando me voy de compras, él no ha venido conmigo, se ha quedado con su padre. Solo porque no creo que pueda lograr que no toque las superficies. Nos va mejor con el lavado de manos.

He respondido algunas preguntas con niños pequeños locales. Y una de las preguntas que me hicieron fue: "¿Qué canción canta usted, como alcaldesa, cuando se lava las manos para asegurarse de hacerlo durante los 20 segundos completos?"

En caso de que a alguien le importe, estoy con "Feliz cumpleaños" en este momento.

BILL WALSH: Eso cansa rápido.

KATE GALLEGO: Bueno, fue el cumpleaños de mi hermano, así que le cantamos "Feliz cumpleaños", su cumpleaños fue la semana pasada, muchas veces, aunque en realidad él no estuvo presente. He tenido buena suerte. PBS Kids publicó información sobre cómo hablar sobre el virus de manera apropiada para la edad de los niños. Y eso me ha sido muy útil.

También hubo un proyecto que salió de Harvard que tiene diferentes recursos, incluso en varios idiomas diferentes, para hablar sobre COVID. Y eso me ha sido útil. Mi profesor de biología se molestaría conmigo, pero hemos empezado a llamarlo "el gran germen", y solo hablamos de él, de que tenemos que hacer las cosas de manera diferente con "el gran germen". Pero creo que ha sido importante para él entender que las cosas han cambiado, y la razón por la que no vamos a jugar al patio es que estamos luchando contra lo que llamamos "el gran germen", pero el virus COVID, en este momento.

BILL WALSH: Interesante. Bueno, lo que sea mientras funcione, ¿verdad? Muy bien, Jean, tomemos otra pregunta. ¿A quién tenemos en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos June desde Florida.

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

JUNE: Tengo 67 años y tengo 2 nietos, nietos jóvenes a quienes extraño. Tienen dos y cuatro años. Y mi pregunta para usted es que todos estamos siendo muy cuidadosos, básicamente en cuarentena, y lo hemos estado durante cinco o seis semanas. ¿Crees que es seguro para mí estar cerca de esos niños?

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Dra. Rios, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso?

ELENA RIOS: Bueno, sí. En algún momento, tendremos que sopesar los riesgos, creo. Todos los departamentos locales de salud pública mantienen todo cerrado.

Poco a poco, volverán a abrir. Pero si sus nietos están en casa y usted está en casa, hay menos posibilidades de que ellos tengan mucho contacto en este momento con cualquier cosa.

Pero creo que, a medida que se abran las cosas, como dijo la alcaldesa, también irán a los supermercados con sus padres, e irán a restaurantes. Por lo tanto, en este momento hay menos posibilidad de enfermarse,

recibiéndolos ahora antes de que todo comience a abrir.

BILL WALSH: Bien. ¿Qué precauciones debería tomar si invita a los nietos? ¿Qué pasos prácticos debería estar tomando?

ELENA RIOS: Oh, todos están usando FaceTime. ¿En términos de conexión

con los nietos, quiere decir? Creo que eso es...

BILL WALSH: Sí, parece que ella no ha visto a sus nietos y le gustaría. Si están tratando de organizar una reunión en persona ¿qué debería estar haciendo?

ELENA RIOS: Creo que recibirlos en su casa. Creo que eso es importante para la salud. Probablemente sea lo mejor.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Muy bien. Jean, entiendo que tienes otra pregunta para nosotros.

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí. Tengo una pregunta de Facebook. Viene de Denise. Y la pregunta es, una vez que hayan decidido reabrir gradualmente las cosas, ¿cómo decide una persona mayor cuándo estaría bien reanudar el cuidado de sus nietos pequeños?

BILL WALSH: Alcaldesa Gallego, me pregunto si podría opinar sobre eso, ya que tantos funcionarios públicos están sopesando esta pregunta sobre la reapertura en estos días.

KATE GALLEGO: Ciertamente estamos enfrentando eso. Nuestro gobernador ayer extendió nuestra orden de quedarnos en casa. Algunos de los consejos

que he recibido de nuestros funcionarios de salud pública para nuestros adultos mayores, es que tendrán que ser cautelosos incluso más tiempo que algunos otros grupos de personas.

Los CDC y el plan del presidente para la reapertura tienen más protecciones para las personas mayores o con problemas respiratorios o cualquier condición de salud subyacente. En mi familia personal, tengo padres que tienen verdaderos problemas de salud y, por más que haya sido muy, muy difícil para nosotros, creo que tendremos que esperar más tiempo antes de poder estar físicamente juntos.

Y, francamente, ha sido más difícil de lo que pensaba. Pero creo que tengo que, en mi vida personal, poner primero la salud pública y la salud de mis padres, antes de tomar esos riesgos. Y les aconsejo, si tienen acceso a Internet y están interesados, creo que vale la pena

leer las pautas para la reapertura de Estados Unidos.

No todos los estados las siguen, pero eso le da una idea de cuándo sucederán las cosas y cómo se verían. Habla sobre ciertos tipos de negocios, fabricación y construcción que abren antes, restaurantes que abren, pero áreas de bares con mayor densidad no. Y he encontrado que es útil como probables pasos a seguir, que no será lo mismo en todos los estados. Pero ayuda un poco con la comprensión y tal vez pueda ayudarte a planificar.

BILL WALSH: Correcto. Pensar en esos escenarios que podrían desarrollarse y que, en última instancia, pueden reducirse a esa elección individual y a qué tipo de riesgo están dispuestos a tolerar.

KATE GALLEGO: Y si tiene la posibilidad de hablar con su médico sobre su situación personal, creo que eso también es valioso.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Gracias. Jean, ¿quién sigue en línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Debra de California.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Debra, adelante. Haga su pregunta.

DEBRA: Sí. Buenos días. Muchas gracias. Soy una persona mayor

de 64 años, abuela con custodia de un niño de 8 años. Y hemos estado practicando el distanciamiento social rigurosamente, pero estoy realmente

preocupada por la escuela. Su escuela está considerando reabrir, y tengo que decidir pronto si voy a enviarlo nuevamente o no. Y realmente me pregunto, ¿es seguro para mí hacer eso? Solo tiene ocho años.

BILL WALSH: Sí, esa es una pregunta difícil. Dra. Strommen, ¿tiene

algo que decir al respecto?

JANE STROMMEN: Sí, esa puede ser una preocupación para los abuelos y los padres que se preguntan sobre la seguridad de estos jóvenes

que regresan a la escuela. Y supongo que una de las primeras cosas que me preguntaría, sería ¿cuál es la política de la escuela? ¿Cómo van a proteger a estos niños en el distanciamiento social? ¿Qué tipo de precauciones están tomando para tratar de reducir el riesgo de contraer COVID? Yo le haría a la administración de la escuela ese tipo de preguntas.

Además, otra pregunta sería, ¿cuáles son las alternativas si no se siente segura al enviar a su hijo o nieto a la escuela? ¿Cuales son las alternativas? ¿Pueden continuar las clases virtualmente? ¿Podría recibir algunos paquetes de papel de su trabajo escolar en casa? Definitivamente estaría explorando con la escuela cuáles son esas opciones si decide no enviar a su nieto a la escuela en este momento.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Y me imagino que otros padres en el distrito escolar serían un buen recurso, y tal vez la PTA también. Son padres, y sin duda toman con precaución el enviar de nuevo al colegio a sus propios hijos en un momento como este.

JANE STROMMEN: Absolutamente.

BILL WALSH: Gracias, Dra. Strommen. Y gracias por todas las preguntas. Vamos a responder más preguntas en un momento. Y recuerde, si desea hacer

una pregunta, presione * 3. Pero hablemos por un momento sobre el tema de los pagos de estímulo.

AARP ha recibido muchas preguntas de nuestros socios sobre cuándo esperar sus cheques y qué deben hacer, si es que deben hacer algo. Como saben, los legisladores federales promulgaron un paquete de estímulo económico de $2 billones el 27 de mayo.

Se están enviando cheques de hasta $1,200 a la mayoría de las personas en el país, y hasta $2,400 para la mayoría de las parejas casadas. Sabemos que los beneficiarios del Seguro Social, incluidos los discapacitados,

son elegibles para recibir los cheques de $1,200 y no tendrán que presentar ninguna documentación adicional.

Tenemos entendido que esos cheques deberían llegar esta semana. Del mismo modo, las personas que reciben beneficios de SSI o VA son elegibles para recibir el cheque de $1,200 y no tendrán que presentar ninguna documentación adicional. Esa es una muy buena noticia.

Y el IRS estima que los pagos de estímulo se emitirán a los beneficiarios

de VA a mediados de mayo. Además, si realizó una declaración de impuestos en 2018 o 2019 mediante depósito directo, no necesita hacer nada y debería recibir su cheque. Pero hay algunas circunstancias únicas de las que todavía estamos aprendiendo. Y me gustaría cubrirlas muy rápidamente aquí.

Primero, si recibe beneficios de VA o SSI y tiene un hijo dependiente, para reclamar los $500 adicionales, deberá visitar www.irs.gov antes del 5 de mayo y completar su formulario en línea para quienes no presentan la declaración. Ese plazo es el próximo martes.

Segundo, entendemos que algunos beneficiarios fallecidos del Seguro Social recibieron el pago de estímulo y que algunos de ustedes

tienen preguntas sobre qué hacer con esos pagos. AARP ha planteado este problema repetidamente con el IRS, que aún no ha emitido una guía clara para los contribuyentes. Tan pronto como el IRS brinde orientación sobre este tema, alertaremos a los consumidores en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Finalmente, si no declaró impuestos en 2018 o 2019, y no recibe los beneficios del Seguro Social, VA o SSI, deberá completar un formulario simple del IRS para recibir su pago. Puede visitar www.irs.gov y buscar "Non-Filers Enter Payment Info Here."

Para todos, para estimar su pago de estímulo, puede usar la calculadora

de pago de estímulo de AARP en www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Y para verificar el estado de su pago y completar los formularios necesarios, visite www.irs.gov. Y aunque la Administración del Seguro Social no puede responder preguntas relacionadas con los pagos de estímulo económico, su oficina local del Seguro Social puede ser un excelente recurso de orientación y apoyo, especialmente si necesita hablar con alguien o si tiene una necesidad urgente.

Para acceder a la información de contacto de su oficina local, visite www.ssa.gov/locator o llame a la línea gratuita nacional, 1-800-772-1213 y use las indicaciones de voz para recibir el número de teléfono de

la oficina local del Seguro Social.

Finalmente, sepa que el Gobierno federal no está verificando su información personal, incluido su número de Seguro Social. Si recibe llamadas o correos electrónicos solicitando información personal relacionada con los pagos de estímulo, es muy probable que sea una estafa. Entonces, esté atento a eso.

Ahora, escuchemos más de nuestros expertos. Dra. Rios, ¿cómo ha afectado

la pandemia de coronavirus a la comunidad hispana/latina? ¿Existen desafíos específicos para las personas que cuidan a sus seres queridos?

ELENA RIOS: Esa es una buena pregunta. Creo que ha salido

en las noticias, que nuestras comunidades que son más vulnerables, especialmente las comunidades raciales, étnicas o rurales, comunidades marginadas que no tienen el mismo acceso a la información porque el sostén económico de la familia tiene dos o tres trabajos, o le pagan mal y están en la industria donde tienen que ir a trabajar, no están distanciados socialmente. Y pueden contagiarse del virus más rápido que otras comunidades.

Y eso es lo que está sucediendo en nuestras comunidades afroamericanas y comunidades hispanas y comunidades más pobres, en general. Acabamos de ver en las noticias las plantas empacadoras de carne. Y creo que sucede lo mismo con los trabajadores de supermercados y otros.

Y luego, lo otro son nuestras comunidades y nuestras familias. Soy del área de Los Ángeles, donde me crié. Y todos mis tíos, tías y primos son mexicano-americanos y todos tienen familias grandes. Y ves a los trabajadores pobres, los llamaré, trabajadores pobres, que viven en familias intergeneracionales con abuelos y padres e hijos. Y como estamos hablando de abuelos aquí, creo que es importante darse cuenta de que tener más personas en una casa también ayuda a que el virus se propague más rápido a más personas. Creo que ese es el mayor impacto.

Ahora, los desafíos específicos son no poder mantener la distancia social, como mencioné, pero también, no obtener la información, porque son hispanohablantes. Y creo que es algo que para nosotros, para la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos, hemos recopilado información en español. www.cdc.gov también tiene información en español. Debemos difundir más información a través de los medios en español.

Algunos de nuestros médicos han sido entrevistados por televisión en diferentes redes en las principales ciudades.

Pero creo que la radio y los pequeños periódicos étnicos también necesitan tener más información, información básica de la que estamos hablando hoy. Y eso es parte del desafío. Y estos desafíos donde necesitamos más información para las comunidades vulnerables, la oportunidad es que, a medida que avanzamos en las pruebas y tratamos de educar a más personas, habrá empleos disponibles en el sector de la salud pública.

Nuestros departamentos locales de salud pública tendrán que contratar o tener voluntarios que se involucren en eso. Y será importante tener, especialmente lugares como Phoenix y otras áreas donde tenemos muchas familias hispanas, será importante contar con trabajadores comunitarios y estudiantes del área local que puedan estar interesados en la atención médica y las carreras de salud, en convertirse en un médico o una enfermera.

Es un desafío, pero también es pensar en la próxima fase de lo que va a suceder este verano.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Muchas gracias. Alcaldesa Gallego, quería referirme a algo que escuchamos de nuestros socios durante teleasambleas anteriores, y que se trata de la escasez de alimentos, especialmente alimentos saludables. Muchos cuidadores familiares están ayudando a sus seres queridos a acceder a los alimentos. Pero los bancos de alimentos están experimentando largas colas, falta de suministros.

Y los informes de las noticias indican que no mejorará pronto. ¿Qué se está haciendo a nivel local para garantizar que las personas que necesitan acceso a alimentos y nutrición esencial puedan retener ese acceso y mantenerse protegidos del virus?

KATE GALLEGO: Esa es una pregunta muy importante, y sabemos que una de las cosas más importantes que podemos hacer para frenar la propagación es asegurarnos de que las personas puedan obtener un suministro saludable sin tener que exponerse a situaciones de mayor riesgo.

Phoenix es el orgulloso hogar del primer banco de alimentos del mundo. John van Hengel fundó el St. Mary's Food Bank aquí en 1967. Su idea era un banco de alimentos donde individuos y empresas con exceso de alimentos podrían depositarlo, y los que lo necesitan podrían "retirarlo". Hoy, por supuesto, nuestros bancos de alimentos están presentando dificultades.

Muchos están dando prioridad y sirviendo primero a las personas mayores y otras poblaciones vulnerables. Y lo mejor que puedo encontrar, todos están ofreciendo servicios de entrega sin contacto para tratar de reducir el riesgo. Pero también sabemos que la entrega puede ser muy importante.

Una de las decisiones difíciles de las que formé parte fue cerrar nuestros centros para personas mayores aquí en Phoenix. Me postulé para un cargo queriendo hacer más y mejorar nuestros centros para personas mayores, y nunca se me ocurrió que podría estar, en mi primer año como alcaldesa, cerrando centros para personas mayores.

Una de las preocupaciones reales cuando lo hicimos no solo fue que los centros para personas mayores fueran importantes para las personas que se veían con amigos y andaban por la comunidad, sino que también proporcionaban comidas nutritivas a nuestros residentes.

Estoy orgullosa de la capacidad de nuestro personal para cambiar rápidamente y pasar a un servicio de entrega de comidas. Ahora estamos entregando múltiples comidas congeladas a la vez, para que las personas puedan obtener esa comida nutritiva. Y luego también lo combinamos con llamadas telefónicas solo para ver cómo están las personas, compartir información sobre los recursos.

También hemos mencionado que si estás aburrido en casa, si pudieras completar tu censo, te lo agradeceríamos. Y luego hemos visto excelentes asociaciones con nuestra Agencia de Envejecimiento del área con cajas de alimentos de emergencia para distribuir a las personas mayores confinadas en sus hogares.

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance está poniendo a prueba un programa con Amazon para entregar una caja de alimentos de emergencia a las personas mayores confinadas en sus hogares. Tienen una cadena de suministro que es más robusta que la nuestra. Y así, si podemos usarla para mantener a las personas bien servidas con alimentos buenos y nutritivos, eso es importante.

También estamos haciendo distribuciones móviles y regulares de cajas de alimentos para personas mayores en toda nuestra comunidad. Y esas son buenas cajas que tienen, en este momento, pan, productos frescos, lácteos y proteínas animales. También creo que las comunidades locales pueden participar en la promoción.

Los alcaldes se han hecho escuchar a nivel federal para tratar de obtener más dinero para los beneficios de SNAP. SNAP es un programa que quizás conozcas como cupones de alimentos.

Y AARP también ha sido un socio increíble en eso. Las ciudades han hecho un gran trabajo reubicando al personal cuyos trabajos anteriores ya no eran necesarios, y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro han ayudado.

En Flint, Michigan, una organización sin fines de lucro de transporte médico redistribuyó su personal y vehículos para garantizar que sus clientes reciban una nutrición adecuada. Las camionetas se usaban para transportar personas, pero ahora están transportando alimentos saludables.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Bueno, eso me alegra escuchar eso. Y, por supuesto, alcaldesa Gallego, usted representa una gran área urbana. Dra. Strommen, quería preguntarle sobre las áreas rurales donde estamos viendo un número

creciente de casos de COVID-19. Me pregunto cuáles son los diferentes recursos que se necesitan y están disponibles para los cuidadores familiares, cuando se comparan las comunidades rurales con áreas más densamente pobladas.

JANE STROMMEN: Gracias por la pregunta. Cuando pensamos en los servicios que los cuidadores realmente necesitan para poder hacer su trabajo, es una gran variedad. Y realmente caen en tal vez alrededor de cuatro categorías, para poder explicarlo.

La primera son cosas que realmente ayudan al cuidador a administrar la logística de esa experiencia de cuidado, ya sea coordinación o administración de la atención, que las personas tengan

tecnología y equipo de asistencia, sistemas de información y referencia.

Un segundo es ese apoyo directo para brindar atención a sus seres queridos, ya sea cuidado de adultos, cuidado de demencia, servicios de tareas domésticas, cuidado personal, ese tipo de cosas.

Una tercera área serían los servicios que realmente ayudan al cuidador a hacer su tarea de brindar atención. Puede que se trate de servicios de comidas como los que acabamos de hablar, transporte, servicios de voluntariado o capacitación y educación.

Y lo último es realmente fomentar el bienestar del cuidador, ya sea apoyo emocional o cuidado de relevo. Cuando observa las comunidades rurales en comparación con las comunidades urbanas, voy a hacer referencia a un estudio que hicimos aquí en Dakota del Norte en 2016. Fue un estudio de servicios y apoyo para cuidadores familiares. Y uno de los hallazgos

de este estudio realmente mostró una falta de servicios disponibles

y servicios apropiados y disponibles, especialmente en las zonas rurales.

Los cuidadores informaron un acceso realmente insuficiente a la atención de relevo.

Y esa fue probablemente la preocupación más importante del estudio. Y sabemos que ese cuidado de relevo es muy importante para que los cuidadores puedan descansar de las responsabilidades continuas de cuidado. Y así, sin ese descanso, existe el riesgo de que los cuidadores se agoten. Además de la atención de relevo, el estudio también encontró lagunas en otros servicios de atención directa, como atención personal, atención diurna para adultos y atención de demencia, y servicios de tareas domésticas y tareas domésticas.

Realmente, fue una falta de mano de obra disponible o personas para llenar realmente este tipo de trabajos que a menudo se citó como un desafío en nuestras comunidades rurales. Otro desafío indicado en nuestro estudio fue la falta de transporte en las zonas rurales, junto con la necesidad de viajar distancias tan largas para recibir atención médica,

especialmente para ver especialistas.

La telesalud o telemedicina se está utilizando más durante esta era de COVID-19 y parece que este servicio sería muy útil para tener disponible de forma continua después de la pandemia. La tecnología podría ser una excelente manera de proporcionar estos otros servicios, como la educación y la capacitación, el asesoramiento y el apoyo emocional, o poder encontrar y conectarse a los servicios que existen.

Pero sí sabemos que, en las zonas rurales, puede haber algunos problemas en algunas partes del país acerca de tener una conexión a internet de banda ancha adecuada para apoyar la tecnología y ayudar a algunas personas a sentirse cómodas usando este tipo de tecnología.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Bueno, gracias. Y mientras hablaba de los recursos para el cuidado, quería mencionar los recursos de cuidado de AARP, que son realmente bastante sólidos. Puede encontrarlos en www.aarp.org/cuidar. Aquí encontrarás en un lugar todos los consejos y herramientas para ayudarlo a cuidar a un ser querido.

Tiene información valiosa sobre el manejo de problemas médicos, registros de salud, directivas avanzadas, seguridad en el hogar, asuntos financieros y legales, equilibrio de la vida del cuidador y mucho más.

Puede encontrar recursos y guías de apoyo, y también, tenemos una comunidad en línea realmente solidaria y una comunidad de Facebook

también, para que pueda conectarse con otros cuidadores y compartir las mejores prácticas o frustraciones y experiencias.

También tenemos una línea a la que puede llamar. Si necesita hablar con alguien, puede llamar a la línea de AARP de apoyo al cuidador al 877-333-5885. Para recursos en español, visite www.aarp.org/cuidar o llame al 888-971-2013. Y ahora, parece que tenemos muchas preguntas en espera.

Jean, ¿quién está en espera para hacer una pregunta?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos a Reggie de Colorado en línea.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Reggie. Adelante con su pregunta. Reggie, ¿está ahí?

REGGIE: ¿Puede oírme bien?

BILL WALSH: Lo oigo. Adelante con su pregunta.

REGGIE: De acuerdo. Soy un abuelo criando a un nieto. Estoy en la categoría de cuidador a tiempo completo. Y creo que una de las oradoras mencionó si su niño tiene coronavirus, ponerlos en una habitación y aislarlos. Pero mi pregunta es sobre el equilibrio emocional y físico. Estos niños, muchas veces, son criados por nosotros porque ya han tenido

un trauma con sus padres. Y aislarlos es realmente difícil.

La mía tiene 11 años y se asusta si no puedo abrazarla, besarla, lo que sea. Entonces, ¿tienen algún consejo o aporte para equilibrar la seguridad física junto con la salud emocional?

BILL WALSH: Esa es una situación difícil, y gracias por la pregunta. Dra. Rios, ¿tiene algún consejo que pueda ofrecer?

ELENA RIOS: Sí. Creo que la salud mental es muy importante, y especialmente con los niños. La verdad es que le pediría al proveedor que consulte con el equipo de salud mental de los proveedores locales, ya sea un consultorio médico o el sistema de salud o el departamento de salud pública local. Por lo general, hay líneas telefónicas donde puede hacer preguntas específicas. Supongo que realmente tienes que tener un equilibrio y tener un tiempo reservado, tal como se mencionó anteriormente, para pasar un tiempo de calidad y realmente concentrarte en las cosas felices, leer historias, música, arte, cosas como esas para despejar la mente de la situación en la que se encuentra.

Pero creo que la importancia de la cuarentena o el aislamiento es realmente para que no te enfermes. Solo tienes que equilibrarlo todo, equilibrar tu plan diario. Pero busca ayuda.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Esa es un compromiso difícil, ¿no? Jean, ¿tenemos a alguien más en la lista?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos una pregunta de YouTube. Joyce de YouTube pregunta: "Durante esta pandemia, ¿qué provisiones y recursos se proporcionan a los cuidadores mientras cuidan de sus seres queridos?"

BILL WALSH: Dra. Strommen, ¿quiere responder esa pregunta?

JANE STROMMEN: Sí. La pregunta era, ¿qué tipo de recursos están disponibles para que los cuidadores cuiden de sus seres queridos?

BILL WALSH: Claro, eso mismo.

JANE STROMMEN: Sí. Esa es una buena pregunta. Sí mencioné que hay una variedad de servicios y apoyos disponibles. Pero podría mencionar que los cuidadores ciertamente han tenido que hacer algunos ajustes en esta situación con COVID.

En su mayor parte, los cuidadores han sido muy comprensivos y han hecho esos ajustes en sus situaciones de cuidado, y realmente están haciendo lo mejor que pueden. Pero solo me aseguraría de que los cuidadores aprovechen los servicios que limitarán su exposición al virus, ya sea que les entreguen sus alimentos y medicamentos a domicilio, que les pidan a los familiares que hagan recados o recojan suministros, que utilicen

telesalud u otras citas médicas.

Y hablamos sobre el cuidado de relevo, eso es realmente importante. Y una cosa interesante que aprendí al hablar con un colega de Aging Network en

nuestro estado en Dakota del Norte es que están viendo a cuidadores que suspenden el cuidado de relevo, probablemente por un par de razones. Tal vez no querer que alguien entre a su casa y aumente su riesgo de exposición.

Pero, en segundo lugar, muchas empresas están cerradas y se alienta a las personas a quedarse en casa. Entonces, algunos cuidadores se preguntan, ¿a dónde iría y qué haría si utilizara ese servicio de cuidado de relevo? Pero una de las cosas que quería mencionar es que podría ser bueno que otras personas en otros estados lo vean, en Dakota del Norte, están

comenzando a implementar algo llamado "respiro virtual".

Y a través del Programa Family Caregiver Support y su Lifespan Respite Care Grant, los clientes de Family Caregiver tienen la oportunidad de utilizar tecnología, como un iPad, para que su ser querido pueda conectarse remotamente con un trabajador de cuidado de relevo. Y este trabajador de cuidado de relevo puede interactuar con el ser querido o el destinatario del cuidado tal vez hablando un rato, jugando un juego, viendo un programa de televisión o una película juntos.

El cuidador familiar seguirá estando en la casa, pero les dará un descanso y un poco de tiempo para ellos. Creo que más allá de buscar

y utilizar los servicios que hay en su comunidad y cosas como esta que podrían estar disponibles, es realmente importante que los cuidadores familiares tengan la intención de hacer algo para ellos mismos cada semana, y realmente lo planeen. No tiene que ser grande. Tal vez solo sea salir a caminar un par de veces a la semana y tomar un poco de aire fresco, mirando diferentes paisajes. Pero lo importante es tener algo que lo entusiasme. Yo diría que utilizar esos servicios y hacer algo bueno para ti, para tu autocuidado.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, un gran consejo. Un simple recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, si desea hacer una pregunta, presione * 3 en el teclado

de su teléfono. Jean, pasemos a la siguiente pregunta en la lista.

JEAN SETZFAND: Genial. Tenemos una llamada de Diane de Massachusetts.

BILL WALSH: Diane, adelante con su pregunta.

DIANE: Hola. Me pregunto si es seguro para mí, una persona de 74 años, apoyar a mis restaurantes locales y ordenar la entrega a domicilio. Me preocupa un poco.

BILL WALSH: ¿De apoyar a sus restaurantes locales haciendo que les entreguen sus alimentos?

DIANE: Sí.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Alcaldesa Gallego, tal vez usted podría hablar un poco sobre eso y hablar sobre las adaptaciones que ha visto en los restaurantes de Phoenix.

KATE GALLEGO: Absolutamente. Contamos con algunos datos excelentes de personas de la Escuela de Salud Pública Johns Hopkins que hablaron, con respecto a dejar que entren cosas en tu hogar, sobre algunas precauciones

que puedes tomar.

Tengo entendido que las toallitas Clorox son como el oro hoy. Pero si tiene, puede limpiar el embalaje antes de tocarlos. Si llevas cosas a

tu casa y las abres, se recomienda que después de eso es bueno lavarse las manos, por si acaso, especialmente si eres particularmente vulnerable. Ciertamente pediría las recomendaciones de los médicos con respecto a esto.

Pero lo que hemos escuchado de los funcionarios de salud pública es que, a menos que tenga una preocupación particular, la entrega a domicilio

es una forma de apoyar a los restaurantes y nutrirse bien. Y solíamos pensar lo mismo. Meals on Wheels ha sido una línea vital en casi todas las comunidades. Pero esas entregas de comida también ayudan a las personas, si calificas para eso.

Y nuevamente, es una manera de quedarse en su hogar y no tener que ir a

una tienda de comestibles, lo que podría ser un riesgo aún mayor. Muchas comunidades tienen una amplia variedad de servicios de entrega de comidas.

Es posible que no califique para Meals on Wheels, pero luego hay plataformas de entrega locales o nacionales, como Uber Eats, que

pueden hacer entregas. Y los restaurantes son muy clave para nuestra comunidad, por lo que si podemos apoyarlos y ayudarlos a superar esto, siento que es una victoria para nuestras papilas gustativas y una victoria para nuestras comunidades.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Y me pregunto, también, si llama a sus restaurantes locales, simplemente pregúnteles qué precauciones están tomando  para proteger a las personas en el extremo receptor de su comida, sé que varios restaurantes han usado esto como un diferenciador, solo para hablar de todas las precauciones especiales que están tomando para mantener a las personas seguras.

Jean, me pregunto quién será el próximo en la línea.

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos a Peggy de Florida.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Peggy. Adelante con su pregunta.

PEGGY: Sí. La pregunta que tengo hoy es que tengo 65 años, soy viuda y tengo problemas respiratorios. Tengo múltiples condiciones subyacentes. Y he escatimado en ir a mi médico a hacerme exámenes de laboratorio y espalda, esas cosas que debo hacerme una vez al mes. Y ahora el médico quiere hacerme otra tomografía computarizada y un ecocardiograma porque mis múltiples enfermedades subyacentes tienen que ver con esos órganos.

Por lo tanto, tengo miedo, y por eso quiero saber qué tipo de sugerencias pueden tener para que visite el consultorio de mi médico y vaya a estos laboratorios para que me extraigan sangre y me hagan una tomografía computarizada. Estoy aterrorizada de ir.

BILL WALSH: Sí.

PEGGY: No he salido de mi casa desde que comenzó la pandemia.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Dra. Rios, me pregunto si puede abordar eso. Hemos escuchado mucho sobre personas que posponen cirugías electivas. Pero en este caso, ella está dudando incluso si hacerse chequeos regulares para condiciones crónicas. ¿Tiene algún consejo?

ELENA RIOS: Sí. Sinceramente, creo que quedarse en casa es la mejor política si no es algo que necesita atención inmediata. Y de eso se tratan las cirugías electivas. Si es algo que puede posponer otro mes, mejor posponerlo otro mes.

Creo que las cosas se van a abrir en... Sí, diré este verano. Diré junio. Ya es 1° de mayo mañana. Y habrá menos sensación de ansiedad a medida que los consultorios médicos, por ejemplo, se comuniquen con sus pacientes. Y no hay ninguna razón por la que no pueda reprogramar sus análisis de laboratorio. Y simplemente, los llamaría y les diría que usted tiene esta cita o plazo en el que se supone que debe hacerse estas pruebas, pero le gustaría saber si puede posponerlos un mes o dos meses.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y Dra. Rios,[INAUDIBLE] Sí. Además de la cirugía electiva, si alguien como esta oyente simplemente quiere consultar con su médico para controlar las enfermedades crónicas actuales, me parece que muchos de esos médicos están dispuestos a simplemente comunicarse por teléfono y hacer una visita virtual de esa manera. ¿Ha visto eso también?

ELENA RIOS: Sí, eso está bien. Creo que es importante llamar y hablar con las enfermeras o averiguar qué sugerirían. Y creo que están más que dispuestos a hablar con la gente por teléfono o por computadora, lo que se conoce como telesalud o telemedicina.

Pero creo que esto está sucediendo en todas partes, donde los médicos y los dentistas, especialmente los dentistas, han cerrado sus consultorios. A menos que haya una emergencia, los hospitales permanecen abiertos para

pacientes de emergencia.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Bien, gracias. Jean, ¿quién sigue?

JEAN SETZFAND: Nuestra siguiente llamada es de Lorie Ann de Carolina del Norte.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Lorie Ann. Adelante con su pregunta.

LORIE ANN: Sí, buenas tardes a todos. Gracias por esta plataforma. En realidad estoy llamando, parece que estoy en el extremo opuesto del espectro de una de las llamadas anteriores. Tengo 65 años y soy cuidadora con dos trastornos crónicos subyacentes que inhiben mi sistema inmunitario. Estoy bien. Pero estamos en un hogar multigeneracional. Mi madre tiene 83 años y múltiples enfermedades subyacentes. Mi abuela tiene 102 años. El 2 de junio cumplirá 103 años, si Dios quiere.

Mi pregunta es que recibe cuidados paliativos en el hogar, le diagnosticaron demencia vascular hace aproximadamente un año y medio. Pero es intermitente. Mi pregunta es, establecimos todas las restricciones. El hospicio ahora hace una visita remota por semana, y los otros vienen en persona. Nuestro asistente de salud en el hogar usa una mascarilla. Nosotros usamos mascarillas.

Pero mi abuela nos miró la semana pasada y se puso un pañuelo en la boca porque todos los demás lo tienen, porque, nuevamente, su diagnóstico es relativamente nuevo. Pero progresa todos los días, la demencia. Ella todavía es consciente muchas veces. Pero generalmente la bendecimos. Somos una familia afroamericana, la abrazamos, la besamos todas las noches. Tiene 102 años, casi llega a 103. No quiero ser repetitiva.

Es un equilibrio entre lo que dijeron, mi corazón y mi mente. En mi mente sé qué es lo correcto, lo que debo hacer. Pero como dijo mi madre, extraño besar a mi madre, porque se da cuenta de que todas las noches mi madre le da un beso cuando la acostamos.

La bendecimos a ella. Y nos hemos mantenido alejadas, excepto cuando tenemos que acercarnos. Y usamos mascarillas y guantes, constantemente desinfectamos nuestras manos. ¿Saben si hay alguna restricción? Estamos en el extremo opuesto. No sé, Dios podría tener en sus planes 10 años más para ella. Pero, ¿qué restricciones podemos comenzar a levantar en nuestra casa? ¿Es eso aconsejable o no?

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Dra. Rios, ¿tiene algún consejo para esa situación en particular?

ELENA RIOS: Bueno, creo que sí, de nuevo, se trata de si el paciente, la persona, la abuela, la madre en su hogar, tienen el virus. Si no tienen el virus, eres tu quien debe tener más cuidado.

Si sales y vuelves a entrar, eres quien necesita lavarse más las manos y tener cuidado con la forma en que interactúas con ellas, porque potencialmente estás trayendo los gérmenes, el virus.

Pero para ellas, creo que realmente tener tus hábitos de estar cerca

y un beso de buenas noches y todo eso, no tiene

nada de malo. Creo que esta bien.

Creo que realmente se trata de ti porque eres la que sale. Solo debes tener más cuidado con la forma en que interactúas con ellos. Eso es todo.

BILL WALSH: Claro.

ELENA RIOS: No creo que sea un... Es como, cuando piensas de qué se trata el hospicio, la situación del hospicio es, realmente, solo estás tratando de mantener a la persona cómoda. Y la calidad del tiempo, porque tienes poco tiempo, solo por definición. Y quieres estar cerca de esa persona y hacer que se sientan cómodos y no se sientan aislados. Supongo que eso es lo más importante.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo, muy buen punto. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos

a continuación en la lista?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos una pregunta de Facebook Live.

Esta pregunta es de Robin, y ella preguntó: "He visto 'casas de abuelita'

anunciadas en la televisión que se supone que son fáciles de usar para las personas mayores. ¿Qué piensan? Creo que es algo bueno, solo que no lo sé. Solo pregunto en nombre de mi abuela.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Alcaldesa Gallego, ¿quiere tomar esta? ¿Está familiarizada con las "casas de abuelita"? ¿Hay muchas en el área de Phoenix?

KATE GALLEGO: No usamos ese término, pero en realidad, AARP ha sido maravilloso al proporcionar información sobre cómo podemos construir para todas las edades. A medida que la ciudad se ha asociado para expandir nuestra oferta de viviendas, hemos estado buscando viviendas multigeneracionales y hemos hablado con nuestros socios sin fines de lucro sobre la construcción de casas que tienen elementos como pasillos y puertas que tienen lugar para sillas de ruedas, diferentes elementos de diseño que permiten que alguien permanezca en un lugar mientras envejecen o pasan por diferentes niveles de atención. Tenemos excelentes socios.

Y creo que muchas comunidades tienen instalaciones que tienen diferentes tipos de situaciones de vida, todas ubicadas en un campus, donde, si tus necesidades de atención médica y asistencia progresan, puedes permanecer en el mismo lugar y mantenerte en contacto con tu comunidad y amigos. Creo que este es un problema diferente al relacionado con esta pregunta.

Pero hemos tenido mucha suerte con las familias de abuelos y tratar de diseñar viviendas que reconozcan que muchos abuelos son los cuidadores principales. Y tenemos algunas instalaciones en Phoenix que están configuradas exactamente para los abuelos que cuidan a sus hijos.

Y eso, creo, ha recibido buenas críticas tanto de los niños como de los abuelos. Y siento, en mi hogar, que si los abuelos y el niño están felices, es un éxito.

BILL WALSH: [RISAS]De acuerdo. Y dije "casas de abuelita" porque así lo llamó quien preguntaba. También se las conoce como unidades

de vivienda accesorias, por supuesto. Jean, ¿cuál es la siguiente pregunta en la lista?

JEAN SETZFAND: Nuestra siguiente pregunta proviene de Madeleine de Missouri.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Madeleine. Adelante con su pregunta.

MADELEINE: Hola. Gracias por responder mi pregunta. Mi madre, que tiene 92 años, vive en un centro de vida asistida. Y el 17 de marzo, aproximadamente, cerraron la instalación para los visitantes, eliminaron las actividades comunitarias y las comidas comunales. Entonces, ella estuvo básicamente sola por un mes. Y ella nos llamaba a mi hermana y a mí tres y cuatro veces al día, diciendo que estaba sola y que quería visitas y que quería que la gente se quedara con ella.

El catalizador fue cuando nos llamó a los dos llorando a las 8:30 p.m., diciendo que ya no podía quedarse allí. Ella quería que alguien fuera a buscarla. Entonces, inmediatamente fuimos a buscarla al día siguiente. Eso fue el 16/4 aproximadamente. Ahora ha estado aquí por dos semanas y obviamente se siente mejor, se siente más fuerte.  Pero ahora ella quiere volver a casa. Y aunque le explicamos cuando la trajimos que los CDC probablemente no lo permitirían, está insistiendo.

Y sé lo que debo hacer, mantenerla aquí. Pero debido a sus problemas

subyacentes de ansiedad y olvido y todo eso, solo quiero que esté lo más cómoda posible. ¿Tienen alguna sugerencia sobre lo que debería hacer?

BILL WALSH: ¿Para que esté lo más cómoda posible en su casa?

MADELEINE: ¿Ya sea en casa, si es posible, o debería llamar al centro para ver si está bien que regrese? Y estoy pensando, si se va a extender, sucederá lo mismo si la llevamos de regreso.

BILL WALSH: Claro. Este ha sido un gran problema, ¿verdad? Y no todos los hogares de ancianos o centros de vida asistida han estado compartiendo información sobre lo que está sucediendo dentro de sus paredes, incluso cuando hay muy poca comunicación entre los residentes y las familias.

Dra. Strommen, me pregunto si podría usted abordar esta situación en particular.

JANE STROMMEN: Sí, con gusto. Ha sido una situación realmente desgarradora con tantos adultos mayores que se encuentran en nuestros centros de cuidado, hogares de ancianos, viviendas asistidas y no poder salir y ver a sus familiares y amigos. Y realmente causó ansiedad

en algunas personas. Y creo que tenemos que reconocer eso.

No ha sido fácil hacerlo. Y para algunos, ha sido difícil entender por qué esto es necesario, por qué sus familiares no pueden ir a verlos durante este tiempo.

Si su madre se siente mejor y ha podido aclimatarse a su hogar en este momento, parece que sería mejor si pudiera quedarse allí. Y de alguna manera trata de evaluar lo que todos necesitan, tú, como cuidadora, y ella. ¿Cuáles son sus necesidades? Y probablemente haz un plan.

Y luego fíjate, ¿hay algún tipo de servicios a los que pueda acceder en su hogar que puedan ayudar a su madre o ayudarla a usted? Tal vez pueda hablar con el centro para personas mayores sobre la entrega de comidas. Descubra qué otros servicios podrían estar disponibles. Parece que si ella regresara a las instalaciones si aceptaran los reingresos, podría estar de vuelta en la misma situación en la que tendría mucha ansiedad por no estar cerca de su familia y poder ver a la familia.

Piense, ¿qué necesitaría usted, en términos de apoyo emocional y físico, para que funcione esto de que su madre continúe en su casa?

BILL WALSH: Sí, es muy difícil. Y como los oyentes pueden saber, AARP ha sido muy activo en términos de hogares de ancianos y de vida asistida. Un recurso que me gustaría recomendar es que en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus, tenemos seis preguntas para hacerle a los centros de cuidado.

Para esta oyente en particular, serían preguntas para hacer antes de considerar incluso, poner a su ser querido de nuevo allí. Si tiene un ser querido en un centro de vida asistida o en un hogar de ancianos, este es un momento importante para abogar por ellos. Y no tenga miedo de hacer estas preguntas y realmente exigir respuestas.

Bien, Jean, ¿a quién más tenemos a continuación en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos a Janette de Florida.

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

JANETTE: Hola, si. Tengo una hija y su familia que viven a menos de una milla de distancia de mí, y todos nos hemos puesto en cuarentena. La pregunta es, el esposo de mi hija sale todos los días a trabajar. Y, por supuesto, sigue todas las precauciones COVID-19. Pero me preguntaba si todos podríamos reunirnos si todos nos hiciéramos la prueba del coronavirus. Y si a todos nos diera negativo, ¿podríamos reunirnos? ¿O sigue siendo demasiado arriesgado porque el esposo sale a trabajar?

BILL WALSH: Mm. Dra. Rios, me pregunto si podría abordar eso. Creo que los CDC han publicado algunas pautas sobre quién puede hacerse la prueba, y también algo sobre la precisión de las pruebas.

ELENA RIOS: Lo siento, sí. Nuevamente, pienso en las pautas, y no las tengo frente a mí, pero creo que es importante darse cuenta de que realmente depende de la edad de la persona.

Son las personas mayores, mayores de 65 años o las que tienen problemas

de salud subyacentes, especialmente problemas respiratorios, como asma o EPOC. Esas son las personas que se supone que son las primeras

en hacerse las pruebas.

Si no hubiese suficientes pruebas disponibles, llamaría a su proveedor,

a sus médicos para averiguar si tienen acceso a más pruebas en ciertos estados o ciertas ciudades. Pero creo que, debido a la falta de pruebas disponibles, ha habido un límite para aquellos que realmente lo necesitan. Y creo que el mejor consejo si no fueron examinados, es

mantener un distanciamiento social.

Entonces, si están juntos en la casa, unas pocas personas, que no

se sientan uno al lado del otro. Se sientan en diferentes partes de la habitación, ese es el mejor consejo, y lavarse las manos, y después de que todos se van, limpiar las perillas de las puertas y ese tipo de cosas.

BILL WALSH: Correcto. Y en este caso particular, ella estaba preguntando por el esposo que salía de la casa todos los días para ir a trabajar. ¿Qué le recomendaría hacer cuando vuelve a la casa todos los días?

ELENA RIOS: Sí, creo que dejar los zapatos afuera es algo que ha sido reconocido, y también, en términos de ropa, si están rodeados de mucha gente, depende de dónde trabajen, pero dejar su ropa en el cesto, digamos, y tomar una ducha antes de interactuar con todos los demás, es lo más seguro, lo que la gente recomienda ahora, especialmente para

los trabajadores de primera línea, como los trabajadores de supermercados y hospitales que tratan con mucha gente.

Si trabajan con unas pocas personas y no interactúan con gran parte del público, entonces es otra cosa.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Gracias por eso. Estamos llegando al final de nuestra llamada. Dra. Ríos, Dra. Strommen y Alcaldesa Gallego, me pregunto si tienen alguna idea o recomendación final sobre aquello que los socios de AARP deberían entender por sobre todo de nuestra conversación de hoy.

Dra. Rios, ¿qué tal si comenzamos con usted?

ELENA RIOS: Diría que AARP ha hecho un gran trabajo educando a nuestros mayores, y no debería decir eso porque yo también soy mayor. Pero todas las personas mayores de 50 años que han podido acceder a la información de AARP, o que han sido socios, saben cuánto se preocupa

AARP por sus constituyentes.

Y creo que es realmente importante comprometerse y dejar que otros sepan

sobre la importancia de AARP como recurso. Y ciertamente, para tener

una guía sobre COVID-19, diríjase a los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, conocidos como CDC, y su sitio web es www.cdc.gov.

Y justo en la primera página, verá la información del coronavirus de inmediato. Solo diría eso. Gracias de nuevo. Gracias por invitarme.

BILL WALSH: Gracias, Dra. Rios. Oh, si. Es un placer tenerla en la llamada hoy. Dra. Strommen, ¿tiene alguna idea final o recomendación?

JANE STROMMEN: Bueno, solo quiero agradecerles por realizar este evento y correr la voz sobre este importante tema. También quisiera reiterar que AARP tiene grandes recursos. Les digo a los cuidadores familiares todo el tiempo que vayan y miren.

Y nuestra extensión tiene excelentes recursos para hablar con sus hijos, adultos mayores. Pero realmente les diría a las personas, algo para llevar, es que las organizaciones que han estado ayudando todo este tiempo a los adultos mayores y a los cuidadores familiares, lo siguen haciendo. Simplemente ajustaron sus maneras. Y me comunicaría con su centro local para personas mayores. Cada estado tiene servicios estatales de envejecimiento, y tienen personal ubicado en áreas regionales y locales.

Póngase en contacto con ellos y descubra cómo han realizado ajustes. Y tienen toda la intención de servir a los cuidadores familiares y adultos mayores de nuevas maneras, simplemente ajustándose a esta era COVID.

BILL WALSH: Correcto. Ha habido mucha innovación, mucho que podemos aprender de este momento difícil. Gracias, Dra. Strommen. Y alcaldesa Gallego, ¿alguna idea de cierre, recomendaciones desde su punto de vista?

KATE GALLEGO: Quería agradecer a todas las personas inspiradoras que han trabajado como cuidadores durante estos tiempos difíciles. Ya sea que esté cuidando a un padre o un hijo, es un acto de amor, pero es mucho más difícil en la era de COVID-19.

Así que, gracias por ayudar. Ciertamente me hace sentir orgullosa de nuestro país. También, nuevamente, quiero agradecer a todas las personas que han realizado cambios en sus vidas, que han aplanado esa curva y han ayudado a nuestro sistema de salud a combatir el COVID-19.

Cambios muy difíciles en la vida de todos, pero realmente está dando

resultado, en vidas salvadas. Así que gracias. Es una especie de eco

de una declaración anterior, pero si se encuentra en una situación

de crisis y necesita recursos, sea tenaz y siga pidiendo hasta que lo encuentre. Si está luchando contra la violencia doméstica, todavía hay recursos para ayudarle a ponerse a salvo. Si no tiene la comida

que necesita, siga buscando.

Y AARP puede ser un recurso, agencias del área sobre el envejecimiento. Puede llamar a su gobierno local. Hay recursos por ahí. Puede que tenga que ser su propio defensor, pero yo seguiría trabajando para asegurarme de saber lo que necesita. Y son tiempos difíciles, pero trabaje para conseguirlo.

Gracias a AARP, también un recurso fabuloso para mí como alcaldesa,

cuando tomamos decisiones difíciles, y un gran recurso para nuestro país. Gracias.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Gracias a todas. Esta ha sido una discusión

realmente informativa. Apreciamos a nuestras expertas, así como a nuestros oyentes. Y gracias, socios de AARP o voluntarios y oyentes, por participar en esta discusión hoy.

AARP, una organización compuesta de socios, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país durante más de 60 años.

Ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus, evitar su propagación a otros y cuidarse a sí mismos. Todos los recursos a los que hicimos referencia en la llamada de hoy, incluida una grabación,

se pueden encontrar en www.aarp.org/coronavirus a partir de mañana.

También quería que nuestros oyentes supieran que todos esos recursos, o la mayoría de ellos, están en español, también en www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Por favor revise esos excelentes recursos en español. Visite www.aarp.org/elcoronavirus si su pregunta no fue abordada, y encontrará las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que haya aprendido algo que lleve consigo y le ayude a usted mismo y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse saludable. Asegúrese de sintonizar el próximo jueves 7 de mayo, tendremos

dos teleasambleas. La primera es a la 1:00 p.m. hora del este. Abordaremos cómo puede mantenerse a salvo y protegido del coronavirus, y proteger su cuenta bancaria de los estafadores

El segundo evento, a las 7:00 p.m., hora del este, abordará cómo puede administrar su carrera, negocio e ingresos. Volveremos el 7 de mayo,

y esperamos que nos acompañe.

Gracias, que tenga un buen día. Esto concluye nuestra teleasamblea.

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


  • 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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