Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy as all work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. I know it’s been a trying time, and we’re all still adjusting to this new normal. Know that the Department of Aging and Community Living is still here for you. Even though we’re working a little differently these days, our commitment to you remains the same.

Thanks to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s leadership during this difficult time, we’ve been able to react quickly and close all of our dining sites and senior wellness centers where many of our seniors gathered daily for lunch and conversation. We’ve converted these services to meal delivery, virtual programming on Channel 16 and through AroundTownDC.org, and regular reassurance call—minimizing potential exposure.

Our Information and Referral line also remains open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please reach out to us at 202-724-5626 if you’re in need of services and supports. My team is standing by and ready to connect with you.

We’re also excited to provide a Call & Talk line. We’re working with staff, grantees, and community volunteers to contact seniors on a regular basis—just to chat! We normally hold more than 200 outreach events during the year, but since we can’t see you in person, DACL’s Call & Talk gives us a chance to connect directly with you. You can talk about anything! From sports to movies, from DC neighborhoods to music—whatever you feel like talking about during the call. We want to make sure you can still make meaningful connections and stay engaged, even from your home. If you’re interested in signing up for our Call & Talk line, please call us at 202-724-5626, and we’ll set up a good time for you to have a call. We can’t wait to talk with you!

Following guidance from DC Health and the Center for Disease Control, I want to emphasize how critical it is for you to do everything possible to minimize your exposure to COVID-19. Please stay home as much as possible. If you need to go out, please maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet. Keep away from others who are sick and practice good hygiene—wash your hands for at least 20 seconds several times a day and wipe down frequently used surfaces like countertops and handles.

If you’ve been in an area affected by COVID-19 or in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 in the past two weeks and you develop symptoms, call your doctor before going to a healthcare facility. Symptoms may include fever and shortness of breath and may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure.

For the latest information and resources on COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

Just as the Mayor continues to remind us, we’re all in this together and we’ll get through this together. So even though we’re not holding outreach events in the community right now, our commitment is the same—we’re here for you when times are great, and when times are not so great. Reach out to us at 202-724-5626.

Be well, be safe, and let’s stay connected.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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