Resources For Seniors During COVID-19 Crisis

May 28, 2020
California is working to keep you healthy

While staying home is necessary to protect ourselves and our community from coronavirus, it has taken a toll on all of us. It can be particularly challenging for seniors and older adults who are at high-risk of COVID-19, as they may feel isolated or may be struggling to care for themselves. California’s leaders are keenly aware of these challenges and we are working diligently to ensure seniors can safely access the assistance they need during this time.

One of the biggest hurdles seniors face is access to groceries and healthy meals. No one should be concerned about feeding themselves or their families as a result of this crisis, which is why San Diegans who are older or immune-compromised have several options to turn to if they don’t know where they will get their next meal.

  • Seniors who are able to do their own shopping, but want to do so during a time that is less crowded, can find grocery stores with special hours on
  • If you’re struggling to afford groceries, there are several non-profits distributing food throughout the city.
    • The San Diego Food Bank has a list of sites and schedules that is regularly updated.
    • Feeding San Diego works with over 300 local organizations to distribute meals and groceries around the area. Find a list of their sites and schedules on the Feeding San Diego website.
  • If you are not able to prepare meals at home, Meals on Wheels, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, and Mama’s Kitchen are just a few of the organizations that can help by safely delivering meals to your door. My 211 has an extensive list of other groups delivering meals to seniors at home.

It’s understandable that spending so much time inside, possibly alone, has made older adults feel isolated. Please know, no one is alone in this. We will get through this together. If you or someone you care for is overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, grief, or fear, help is available. Here are just a few resources older San Diegans can turn to for support: 

  • The San Diego Access and Crisis Line is available 24/7 to answer questions; make referrals; and help those dealing with anxiety, substance abuse, or other types of crisis. Call the help line at (888) 724-7240 or chat online.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Health San Diego volunteers and peer/family support specialists are available to listen to those struggling and suggest referrals. Call (800) 523-5933 to talk to a specialist. If you are in crisis and need the help of a trained counselor, text “NAMI” to 741-741.
  • The Friendship Line specialists are available to lend a friendly ear to older Californians and caregivers who are grieving, dealing with anxiety, or feeling lonely. If you need someone to talk to, call (888) 670-1360.
  • The Veterans Crisis Line is available to all veterans, service members, and military families who are experiencing anxiety, depression, or thoughts of suicide. The line is staffed 24/7 by qualified responders at the VA, many of whom are also veterans. Call (800) 273-8255, text 838255, or chat with them online.
  • Live Well @ Home with Older Adults & Seniors has aggregated tips and suggestions for staying physically active, practicing mindfulness, and staying connected to others. 

As San Diego County begins to gradually modify the stay at home order and allow certain businesses to reopen, it’s important that everyone, especially those who are at high-risk, remain vigilant about protecting themselves from the spread of coronavirus.

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • When you need to go out for essential reasons, wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly.
  • If you exhibit mild symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider. If symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1.

It is important to remember that we are being asked to maintain physical distance, not emotional distance. We need to stay connected to neighbors and loved ones, and we need to take care of ourselves.

  • Greet neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Call, text, email, video chat, or write letters to friends and loved ones.
  • Take a break from the news if it becomes distressing.
  • Eat well, stay hydrated, and limit excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Stay physically active by taking walks in your neighborhood, going for a bike ride, or trying an exercise video in your living room.
  • Do things that make you smile!
    • The San Diego Public Library has a robust digital collection of free ebooks, magazines, and audiobooks.
    • The San Diego Museum of Art has a virtual portal with online galleries, video performances, and podcasts.
    • Liberty Station has online classes, digital exhibitions, and a list of local restaurants providing take-out and delivery during COVID-19.
    • The Old Globe theater has an online program with an abundance of workshops, behind the scenes video content, and interactive activities for budding thespians.

There is no denying that this is a trying time, but it is also temporary. I know we can and will get through this crisis by taking care of ourselves and each other.