Senior Age partners with MSU students to help seniors navigate through pandemic

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 8:06 PM CDT
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Senior Age closed its doors weeks ago to keep its staff safe in the fight against the coronavirus, but they're continuing to help seniors navigate through these unprecedented times.

"Seniors, by and large, have a lot of difficulty with change. We all have a lot of difficulty with changes," said Alex Cobb, Chief Human Resources Officer with Senior Age.

Senior Age and local senior centers are seen as essential businesses.

Cobb said they've been trying to get creative with how they meet seniors needs.

"Those things are translating across all of our agencies and certainly something like this getting the information out there, making sure everyone understands both what they need to do and what they don't need to do in a circumstance like this," he said.

Cobb said there's been no shortage in calls of confusion during the pandemic.

"We're fielding phone calls every day and then we're also calling all of our seniors as well," he said. "It's kind of a wellness check to make sure they're doing OK and then also answer a lot of the questions that they have."

One of the most common questions is how they will get their stimulus checks because the language has changed a few times in the last few days.

"I would encourage people to wait a day or two to help the individuals help us understand things to be able to make that translation into simpler language and so we know how to answer their questions," Cobb said.

With their hands full, the agency just began a partnership Wednesday with Missouri State University students nearing graduation.

"The counseling program at Missouri State, their students need practicum hours," Cobb said."They can't get them right now because they have to be shut down."

Those students now have the ability to continue their counseling work by joining their telephone reassurance program.

"They're offering us the opportunity to have seniors call in and talk to the counseling students for free," he said.

Senior centers are still closed at this point.

Cobb said the agency will continue to provide meals and answers to seniors throughout the stay-at-home order.