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

Happy Older Americans Month! While we’re celebrating differently than we have in past years, our appreciation for you and all of your contributions to the District hasn’t changed. Here at the Department of Aging and Community Living, we celebrate you every day of the year—no matter what.

We know that during this unprecedented time, a lot has changed for all of us in our city, but our commitment to our older residents remains the same.

On April 1, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a Stay-at-Home Order, requiring residents to remain in their homes, except to engage in essential activities, like shopping for groceries and essential household goods and going to the doctor, if tele-health can’t be provided. Residents can also engage in allowable recreational activities such as walking, running, and other activities set out in the Order as long as social distancing of at least six feet can be maintained at all times.

The Mayor also launched a new hotline for District residents in response to COVID-19. If you are medically required to quarantine and have no other means of acquiring essential items and food, you can call 1-888-349-8323 or visit coronavirus.dc.gov/gethelp to get them delivered to you.

In addition to making sure residents are practicing social distancing and staying home, the Mayor is reminding all of us to check-in with ourselves and to take care of our mental health. It’s OK to not be OK. Call the Department of Behavioral Health mental hotline if you need someone to talk to. You can call 1-888-793-4357, 24 hours a day. Although we can’t be out in the community celebrating Older Americans Month with you, we’d still love to connect. Join us on our Call & Talk line by calling 202-724-5626. You can call us to talk about anything! My team is excited to hear about your favorite hobbies, how staying at home has been, movies you’ve watched, books you’ve read, sports you miss—anything! It gives my team a sense of normalcy when you call us because we often have similar conversations when we do our outreach. So pick up the phone and tell us whatever you’d like us to know!

Thanks for staying home, staying safe, and keeping our communities safe. I really miss seeing you out in the community, and I can’t wait for when it’s safe for all of us to be at events celebrating you—together. Until then, know that we’re still here for you, celebrating you, and thinking of you constantly. Continue to practice good hygiene, good social distancing, and stay home as much as possible. And remember, join us on our Call & Talk line by calling 202-724-5626—we can’t wait to hear from you!

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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