In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts is providing information and resources to help older Bay State residents and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and help prevent it from spreading to others. Older state residents are especially vulnerable to the respiratory illness known as COVID-19.
If you have coronavirus symptoms, call your health care provider or local public health department to figure out if you could — and should — get tested. Signs of the virus are a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath. (Read more about coronavirus and how to stay safe.)
Learn about Governor Baker's reopening plan here.
For the latest state updates and guidance on coronavirus, check the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the official Massachusetts State Government website. Also be sure to monitor the federal Center for Disease Control's website.
Experts say that older Americans and people with underlying health conditions — such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes — should take steps to reduce exposure to the virus. This includes social distancing strategies like teleworking and avoiding large public gatherings, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services has launched a Nursing Home Family Resource Line - a dedicated phone line to connect family members of nursing home and rest home residents with the information and resources they need. This new phone line provides one central contact for families and community members who have questions about the nursing home or rest home care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Nursing Home Family Resource Line 617-660-5399 is staffed from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, seven days a week. Staff will field questions on a range of topics and coordinate across state agencies to help provide answers.
Massachusetts residents can visit www.Buoy.com/mass to get advice from an online health assistant safely at home, for free.
Buoy's online tool is not to be used in place of emergency medical care. If this is an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
Buoy will connect you with the appropriate health care resource based on your symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19.
Here’s how it works:
1. Tell Buoy about your symptoms and risk factors
2. Figure out if you should be tested for COVID-19
3. Get directed to the most appropriate health care resource
4.Learn about the virus, access prevention tips, and more
For Commonwealth of Massachusetts text updates:
Text COVIDMA to 888-777
For City of Boston text updates:
Text BOSCOVID to 99411. Once you receive the first text, you can select one of seven languages for future messages.
If you need help with meals, medicine or other kinds of support, or are caregiving for someone who does, contact MassOptions, your connection to local aging and disability services in the Commonwealth. MassOptions is a free referral service run by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
You can visit the MassOptions website or call toll free: 800-243-4636.
For medical, food and recovery services and information, call your local 211.
We'll update this story periodically with new information.
More on Coronavirus
This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
Thursday, Oct 1, 2020 at 10:00am Eastern Time
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