High Risk Populations
As State and local restrictions begin to ease, stay-at-home orders are still in effect. According to the CDC, as you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. For example, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. This means individuals, especially those 60 and over, need to remain vigilant when running essential errands and limit interactions with other people as much as possible. For seniors and their loved ones concerned about elderly care facilities, please review the Mitigation Strategies at Sonoma County’s Senior Care Facilities.
Available Services and Resources
The following list of services and support for high-risk groups is continually updated. Listings include grocery stores with senior hours, grocery and meal pick-up and delivery, pharmacies with pick-up and delivery, and the status of programs such as adult day care or caregiver support.
If you need help you can contact the Area Agency on Aging Information and Assistance Line, (707) 565-INFO (4636). For adults age 60+ who need guidance to find community resources. You will be able to talk with a social worker who understands aging issues for guidance on services and follow-up support by phone Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Free. In English, Spanish and other languages by request.
- Food Assistance and Meal Services »
- Senior Community Agency and Non-profit Services »
- Veteran Services »
- Senior emotional support »
- Information about facial covering requirements »
- Additional Nonprofit Resources »
Frequently Asked Questions
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) is recommending that persons at higher risk avoid mass gatherings such as parades, sporting events, and concerts where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another. This would not include typical office environments, grocery stores, or shopping centers, where it is unusual for large numbers of people to be within arm’s length of one another at any one time.
Plan who you can ask for help should you get sick. This may include friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc.
- If you have a caregiver who helps you with daily needs, plan for who can provide care if that person was sick.
- Communicate your plan with all who would help with your care.
- Stay in touch with your caregivers by phone or email.
- Have a supply of your important medications and health supplies on hand
- Follow CDC precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
- If you have symptoms, seek medical attention. Wear a protective mask if you visit a health facility.
- Contact your health care provider for information about monitoring your coronavirus symptoms.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued official COVID-19 guidance for individuals with access and functional needs. The guidance, which addresses the dynamic needs and prevention measures of individuals, caregivers, adult day programs, health programs, and staff in the access and functional needs space, can be accessed using the following link: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/guidance-for-individuals-with-access-and-functional-needs-03122020.pdf
What are the restrictions on visiting family members in assisted living or long-term-care facilities?
Since the March 14 health order, facilities are closed to visitors, including family members. The order also restricts non-essential movement of residents off the premises.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is providing an automatic one-year extension to Californians age 70 and older with a noncommercial driver license with an expiration date between March 1 and December 31, 2020. This action delays the requirement for this population to visit a DMV office during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the new extensions are automatic, drivers will not receive a new card or paper extension in the mail. As an option, drivers can request a free temporary paper extension online beginning July 15 through DMV’s Virtual Field Office to document the extension, though it is not needed to drive. Californians with a suspended license are not eligible. For complete details, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/news-and-media/dmv-gives-1-year-extension-to-senior-drivers-with-expiring-licenses/
Any age 18 or older can complete an Advance Health Care Directive to document legally binding instructions about their health care wishes and to name someone else to make those decisions if they are unable to speak for themselves. An additional option in California is the completion of a Physician Orders of Life-Sustaining Treatment form (POLST). Signed by both the patient and a medical professional, these instructions give patients more control over their end-of-life care, including medical treatment, extraordinary measures (such as a ventilator or feeding tube) and CPR.