The State of California will focus more efforts on seniors, as well as help struggling restaurants with a new meal delivery program.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a series of initiatives on Friday to support vulnerable older Californians who are isolating at home during California’s stay at home order.
The meal delivery program will help fund local governments and restaurants in providing meals for older and at-risk adults who are unable to access meals while staying at home.
Approximately 1.2 million Californians over the age of 65 live alone. As a way to help combat social isolation, Newsom also announced a partnership to make wellness check-in calls and the expansion of Friendship Line California.
“The most important way for older Californians to stay safe is to stay at home,” said Governor Newsom. “These programs will provide older, vulnerable Californians with access to nutritious meals in the safety of their homes and the opportunity to connect with someone who can listen to their concerns and make sure their needs are met. We are all in this together and we will continue to support older Californians who are more at risk during this public health emergency.”
“Older adults are heroes for being the first Californians to stay at home and save lives. However they may be struggling to access food and with the mental health implications of isolation. These programs will make sure our older friends, family, and neighbors have access to the food and friendship they need,” said Director of the California Department of Aging Kim McCoy Wade.
Also during the press conference, Newsom reported another 93 deaths throughout the state of California over the last 24 hours. While positive tests rose five percent, hospitalization rates remained flat. ICU numbers ticked up one percent.
Below is more detail about each program announced on Friday:
Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors
This first-in-the-nation program will ensure vulnerable older Californians have consistent access to nutritious meals while staying safe at home. The Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors program will enlist community restaurants to prepare meals that will be delivered to older Californians who are isolating at home during California’s stay at home order. The program will also support local restaurant workers and owners who have lost business during the pandemic. The program will be administered by local authorities and will serve older Californians who are ineligible for other nutrition programs.
The Administration will keep updated information on the COVID-19 website on which localities are participating.
Social Bridging Project
The Social Bridging Project will mobilize more than 1,000 callers to proactively reach out to older Californians who are isolating at home. The project will combat social isolation through direct, one-on-one communication with older Californians, many living alone and isolated. Listos California is partnering with the California Department of Aging, United Airlines, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and Sacramento State University to make calls to older Californians. Callers will check on the individual’s well-being, connect them to resources, and connect with them on a personal level.
Friendship Line California: 1-888-670-1360
California is expanding Friendship Line California to support lonely and isolated older Californians across the state. Friendship Line California is toll-free and available to provide emotional support to older Californians facing loneliness, isolation and anxiety. The California Department of Aging is partnering with the Institute on Aging to support this effort.
Today’s announcements build on previous actions to support older Californians isolating at home. Governor Newsom previously announced the Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In. campaign to help combat social isolation among older Californians. The campaign urges all Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock.
Californians are also encouraged to join the #CaliforniansForAll initiative by signing up at CalifornainsForAll.ca.gov. #CaliforniansForAll unites organizations in desperate need of volunteers with Californians looking to serve and share their commitment to their neighbors, while ensuring stay-at-home and physical distancing protocols are met. The initiative will focus on recruiting younger Californians to help the most vulnerable throughout the state, including older Californians who are at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.
Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.