COVID-19 Updates and Resources for the MHAC Network: 3/20-3/26

Mar 26, 2020

MHAC is continuing to collect and share updates on COVID-19 from state government, federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, and other key stakeholders.

These updates are to help and inform a wide range of individuals and partners, including communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly.

Please see the latest updates below:

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Commits $1 Million to Address COVID-19

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced it is making an additional $1 million available to efforts driven by community and to nonprofit organizations supporting older people affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation will continue to support healthy aging by funding organizations assisting with access to food, at-home support, housing, transportation, medical supplies and other services, especially for older people and those most vulnerable. Those with underlying health conditions and people over 60 have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. It is especially important to ensure resources are available to provide these supports and services.

The full announcement is available here.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Gives More Than $3 Million For COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation announced it will give more than $3 million for COVID-19 relief efforts by supporting community and nonprofit organizations in Conn., Maine, Mass. and N.H.

A list of programs and organizations receiving awards are available here.

Massachusetts Meals on Wheels Efforts Get Recognition and Call for Volunteers

Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) that administer and manage Meals on Wheels programs are getting well-deserved recognition, but are also making the call for more volunteers to meet an increased need.

See stories from the Lowell Sun and MassLive on the great work happening to support older adults with delivered meals as well resources on how you can help.

Mass Councils on Aging Tracking COVID-19 with Resource, Info Site

The Massachusetts Councils on Aging are surveying their members and keeping communities up-to-date on guidance from the state with a special webpage.

According to MCOA’s recent survey of their members across Massachusetts (327 community councils on aging respondents), 272 are closed to the public with only staff reporting in. Another 31 are closed completely with no staff reporting in.

Baker Administration Continues to Issue Guidance

Among the most recent guidance from the Baker Administration regarding COVID-19, the Department of Public Health is ordering grocery stores and pharmacies to dedicate at least one hour of shopping to people age 60 and older.

More guidance is available on the state’s COVID-19 resource page here.

Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Release COVID-19 Visual Tool

Medical Providers can use the icons and communication tips in a new tool developed by the Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to communicate illness prevention, determine symptoms, severity and timeframe, communicate treatment and ongoing care and learn the preferred method of communication.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing Individuals can use the icons in the tool to help communicate their preferred method of communication, symptoms, severity and timeframe, ask questions about care and know where to get current information regarding Coronavirus

Guide Created to Aid Communication About COVID-19 and Advance Care Planning

With funding from the Cambia Health Foundation, the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care is working with local and national partners to provide public messaging guidance to support appropriate advance care planning at this time and create a consistent set of language for organizations to draw from. The following messaging is derived from the Coalition’s 2019 extensive and in-depth advance care planning communication research with members of the public, highlighting language and concepts that resonated with all segments of the population.

Please download the public messaging document Communicating with the Public about COVID-19 and Advance Care Planning (ACP).

JoAnn Fabrics Donating Supplies and Tools to Make Protective Masks

The latest company to step up during the COVID-19 pandemic is JoAnn Fabrics, which is offering free material, supplies and tutorials to those willing to sew protective masks.

MHAC has learned that there are particular needs for masks among home care and home health aides, but with so many groups in need of protective gear anyone willing to contribute to any entity and make connections on this opportunity can contact James Fuccione at MHAC.