Tri-Cities seniors can help seniors weather the COVID-19 pandemic – carefully

Ken Kuhn of the Tri-Cities Seniors Planning Network wants seniors who are in a position to aid those who need help to step up during the pandemic

As the Tri-Cities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody are among the most vulnerable and may be feeling isolated, lonely and afraid.

But an effort to match seniors who can help with those who need it might be just what the region needs as concern about the coronavirus outbreak grows.

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“A lot of seniors don’t have someone who is right there,” said Ken Kuhn, coordinator of the Tri-Cities Seniors Planning Network. “They may need a hand with groceries or just someone to talk to.”

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To that end, Kuhn is reaching out to the 800 people who have attended network functions to see what’s needed and who can help. And an email sent out Tuesday generated hundreds of responses, Kuhn said, with many people offering to help.

But there are also those who are worried about what’s ahead and what help they might need, as one senior who wrote to Kuhn said: “Thank you so much for helping seniors in this crisis.

“I may need some help later but I am managing for now with what I have in my cupboards. I am 79 years, live alone and on blood pressure medication.

“I am not sure when I should ask for a refill as I still have some medication but don’t want medication to run out in pharmacy when I need it later as it’s important for my health. Please advise me.”

Kuhn is healthy but self-quarantining because he has recently returned from Mexico. Consequently, he has had to be resourceful about getting his own groceries and dealing with other issues. 

Kuhn said travelling in Mexico, he found little evidence of concern about COVID-19 and has been overwhelmed by what’s going on in B.C. since he returned. For example, he had a box of groceries delivered and received only half of what he ordered because the rest of the food wasn’t available. “No potatoes, onions and basic stuff. What are people doing?” He asked.

He said he hopes seniors helping seniors can make a difference in this challenging time.

Those who are healthy and able to help a senior with appointments, shop for groceries or talk with an isolated senior — and  those who need help — should contact him at this email: tricitiesseniorsplanningntwk@gmail.com.

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