Senior citizen programs can resume to an extent

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that the state’s mask order will remain in place until April 9th.

As a result, Ivey says that some other restrictions will be lifted as Alabama starts to head in the right direction. One of her main concerns was that of senior citizens, who she says have had to deal with more than just masks, “While this has been out of an abundance of caution an unintended consequence has created loneliness, depression, and in some cases mental and physical decline.”

As a result of those concerns the governor says outdoor activities may resume.

The new Safer at Home Order states that senior activities can resume. According to a release by the Alabama Department of Senior Services, “Programs other than congregate meals may resume, but only outdoors and subject to guidelines by the Alabama Department of Senior Services.”

Rene Breland, Director of Aging Programs for Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments says the agency has been planning and working on getting seniors out and active, safely.

“We’ll be doing a lot of things that will continue through social distancing. We’ll have opportunities set up so that they can do things like listening to music together, maybe have a drive-up bingo,” Breland said.

But, that won’t be happening soon, because they serve five counties those outdoor activities will have to wait, “Once it gets a little warmer outside, we’ll start planning,” with the winter and fall months, she says seniors were lonely, “as the governor said today, it can have an impact on their physical and mental health.”

Tailgates, drive-up bingo, and just listening to music are some of the accommodating activities, “We’ve been following the governor’s orders up until this point and will continue to do so but with safety in mind.” Breland assures.

TARCOG will be working with all different municipalities on what they ask of their seniors and what they feel comfortable with doing.

But, Breland says that many seniors are excited and eager to getting back to normal, “They rely on seeing each other and having that opportunity to just have that relationship and they’re really looking forward to it. It’s a good thing for them, they get a hot meal, but they also get so much more.”

Throughout this time, TARCOG has focused on the availability of food so they have provided meals and worked with additional programs to get food to senior citizens who need assistance in getting simple necessities.

Breland says that the facilities will be opening gradually in phases to keep the senior citizens healthy.

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