The Senior Friendship Centers in Venice and Sarasota are gradually expanding programs and services in compliance with state, county and local guidelines concerning COVID-19, according to information provided.
“As we move forward in a new landscape of social distancing, our first priority is you — our members, volunteers, clients and staff,” a news release said.
Plans will be reevaluated weekly.
Medical clinics will continue to provide telehealth for patients, using a small group of volunteer providers. “These calls have been successful for patient follow up, prescription refills and online physician visits, the release stated. The medical and dental clinics will reopen for in-person visits on Monday.
Activity centers in Sarasota and Venice are opening at 25% capacity from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Members, volunteers and employees must enter through the front door of the activity center, where they will have their temperatures taken, answer health/travel screening questions and sign health affidavits.
Classes may be conducted while adhering to social distancing guidelines. However, dancing, exercise classes and card games won’t be scheduled.
High touch areas are cleaned throughout the day, with tape marking some areas for social distancing.
Staff and clients are asked to provide their own masks, to be worn while in the activity centers.
Some groups, like the LGBTQ group, will continue to have virtual support groups.
Adult Day Services continues to have virtual engagements with clients, with computer-based activities to help homebound family caregivers by providing meaningful peer interaction for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The Caregiver Resource Center will continue offering virtual support groups and other programming via Zoom and conference calls. Clients have begun to return to The Living Room in limited numbers.
“During this challenging time, our seniors need us more than ever,” the release said. “Being isolated and lonely causes people to withdraw and experience increased health issues and depression. “With an abundance of caution, we will begin to open our programs slowly and carefully so that we can continue to provide a safety net for older adults. Our first and foremost goal will be to keep our valued members, staff and volunteers safe.”
The home delivery of meals continues for clients who are in need. The centers have delivered more than 115,000 meals to homebound seniors during 2020, a 454% increase.
Those needing home- delivered meals can call:
Sarasota County: 941-556-3208