• Meals on Wheels of Metro Tulsa

Organizations helping seniors stay in their homes even more important during coronavirus outbreak

Corey Jones, Tulsa World

Not so long ago, Ella and Tikki would get to play in a nearby park. Now, Rose Stipe only lets her rescue dogs out in the front yard of her home at her senior living complex in Sand Springs.

Stipe, 64, relies on LIFE Senior Services for most all of her needs. Groceries. Laundry. Doctor’s visits. House cleaning. Personal grooming. Mom’s Meals drops off 14 meals twice a month, and her home health aide usually puts them away. If she isn’t there, Stipe does it herself.

Photo by Mike Simons

“I definitely wash my hands and everything and do sterilizer,” Stipe said Tuesday. “I’m very paranoid.” LIFE Senior Services is among the organizations whose roles helping the elderly remain in their own homes are amplified because of the coronavirus outbreak. Mortality rates are reported to be highest among those ages 60 and up, especially when there are underlying health issues. The state on Monday released guidance on caring for seniors on Medicaid, which includes waiving the requirement for signatures of home meal deliveries. Meal providers also may leave the delivery in a convenient location, or, if contact is necessary, remain six feet back. FaceTime or Skype are options for case managers to monitor clients and avoid close personal contact.

Stipe suffers from multiple autoimmune diseases. She looks forward to the personal visits from her meal provider, but she understands and welcomes the precautions. Her complex no longer hosts group activities, such as dominoes.

But Stipe is happy enough in her recliner, blanketed by Ella and Tikki.

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