Question:   I understand people age 65 and up are supposed to stay at home to avoid the Coronavirus, but I still need to do my shopping for groceries. How can I be safe and still get what I need?

The Governor of California has recommended that all people age 65 and older self-isolate. This means that you stay at home and reduce interactions with other people to protect yourself from any possible infection. The reason for this strict recommendation is that we know people who are age 65 and up, as well as people with other chronic health conditions, are at higher risk for developing complications from COVID19 (Coronavirus).

One of the reasons it is difficult to contain the spread of the virus is that healthy people may be carriers for the virus without knowing it. Therefore, limiting the people you come in contact with is so important.  “Social distancing” means keeping physical distance from people of at least 6 feet. This ensures that if they are carriers of the virus it will not infect you.

Of course, no matter what, take basic precautions. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap. Cough into your elbow. Stay away from people who are sick.

If you are self-isolating at home, you may have neighbors, family and friends who can shop for you and leave your items at your front door. This is the time to reach out for help even if you usually prefer to be self-sufficient. This is a global pandemic and we need to respond as a community and help each other through the difficult times. Keep an ongoing list of items you need so you are ready when a person is available to shop for you.

If you do not have a support system nearby to help, there are other options. You can order items online and have them delivered to you. Most grocery stores including Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs, have online shopping options. Even if you are not comfortable online yourself, this is something a family member or friend who may be in another state can help you with over the phone. Right now, grocery stores are having delays in fulfilling orders due to an overload of shoppers. Keep this in mind and order items as soon as possible rather than waiting until you are almost out. Your items may take a few more days to arrive then normal.

Restaurants are offering curbside pickup options, so you don’t even have to go inside to pick up food. Call you favorite local restaurant and see if this is an option. If they are not normally providing this, you can still ask if they would accommodate your request. You order the food over the phone, drive up to the parking lot and call them to let them know you are there. Then their staff member brings the food right to your car.

Home Delivered Meal programs are still operating as usual. Additionally, the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging is working on collecting extra supplies to help those in need in Ventura County. For more information on the Home Delivered Meals and other immediate needs, contact them at 805-477-7300.

I encourage you to keep a routine during this time to maintain some sense of normalcy. It can be easy to watch TV all day and feel lonely or sad. While it’s important to stay informed, you also want to be sure you take breaks from watching the news so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Instead try and reach out to others who may also be lonely at home. Maintain exercise if possible, either at home or by taking a walk in open space. Get fresh air every day and take deep breaths. Caring for our own minds and reducing anxiety at this time is crucial. We have learned the need for social distancing may last a while longer, so taking our time to ensure we feel healthy and safe is a highest priority.

Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at


Most public events and lectures have been suspended at this time. Consider this a time to catch up on phone calls with friends, organize your closets or read a good book.

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