Caring for Seniors During COVID-19
by Karly Hurley
| 3 min read
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but in many cases, it’s been especially difficult for seniors. Even before COVID-19 disrupted traditional means of social connections, the CDC reported there was strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older were socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk. That risk is even greater now as many have been staying safe by staying home for over a year. Morning breakfast meetups, family visits, church services and even trips to the grocery store have been put on hold, leaving seniors at higher risk. Throughout the pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been committed to ensuring the overall health and well-being of our members. Early in the pandemic, we expanded meal delivery programs and sent care packages to more than 700,000 members with Blue Cross medical plans. Since that time, we’ve continued to waive the cost of COVID-19 treatment and have made a concerted effort to reach all senior members in various ways, including outreach calls to check in on how they’re doing. For some, the calls were a refreshing and friendly voice to remind them that we care. For others, it was a resource that proved to directly improve their overall health and well-being. For members like Ed and his wife, they learned about the 24-hour nurse line and access to early prescription refills. Learning about these resources as they were isolated at-home and facing various chronic conditions, they said, was very beneficial to their peace-of-mind. Alice, a senior living alone throughout the pandemic, was running low on medication, but couldn’t get it delivered because she needed to visit her physician before receiving a refill. Due to her pre-existing conditions, she was unsure about the safety of going to the office and faced running out of her prescription. Through the member outreach call, Alice was able to learn about the precautions her doctor’s office was taking and scheduled an appointment the next day, enabling her to receive the prescription on time. At 78-years-old, John had become physically unable to take his trash to the curb. He shared his challenge during a member outreach call, and within a short time, a representative was able coordinate a regular, door-side trash pickup for him. In another call with Jan, who lives with diabetes, it was discovered that she was taking a high-priced medication to treat her condition. After the call, a pharmacist reviewed her medication and benefits and determined an alternate solution. After coordination with Jan’s physician, she is now saving over $300 each month. As the pandemic continues, so does our commitment to supporting our senior members. You can learn more at bcbsm.com/seniorcare.