PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County Council on Aging has closed it’s main office doors and stopped providing community meals at their previous 5 locations. They are not, however, giving up on one service.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions regarding gatherings the council has had to pause most of their services. They will still be providing Meals on Wheels to their clients throughout the community says leadership.
Beth Coulliette, CEO of Bay County Council On Aging says, while seniors are most at risk from the virus, they are also more at risk for concerns regarding isolation requirements.
“Most of them are alone, they have no one to prepare for them, they aren’t able to get out, and we are their lifeline, and we will be here for them.” she said.
She says their goal is to keep their clients as active and healthy as possible through these difficult times, but with the closure of the community meal gatherings, their job just got a little more challenging.
“The Meals on Wheels clients have increased considerably when we included the congregate (those who visited the community meal times) clients, and the routes are longer, we have more routes, and we don’t have as many volunteers, so we are making a plea for volunteers who are willing to deliver meals to seniors.”
There are precautions being taken to protect both volunteers and the clients, she stresses, and dropping the meals off can serve multiple purposes. The threat of a senior resident falling while in isolation is real she said.
“So we want to check and make sure they are okay, they are still up, they are able to get around, they are able to eat their meal, and we want to meet any other needs they might have.”
Coulliette says the council’s staff and volunteers remain dedicated to their mission and will be fully operational after the virus threat has passed.
“We are hoping that this is going to be over soon, and as soon as it is over, we will be back with all of the services that we have provided. “