Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Posted on 03/25/20

Updated: March 31, 2020

Floridians are stepping up to the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak by acting in their communities and neighborhoods throughout the Sunshine State.

Now AARP is providing a way for people to connect, step up and help out in their communities as Florida – and all of America -- faces the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, Florida aging-service organizations also are providing ways for Floridians to connect with older people who may be feeling isolated by the temporary shutdown of community programs and the demands of social distancing.

A new AARP resource aims to address these issues with the launch of AARP Community Connections. This site allows you to find a way to give back to your community locally – or to start a group to help.

These ways may include picking up and delivering groceries for those who must self-isolate, providing financial assistance or just lending a friendly ear to those who need to connect.

You can also add your existing group to our master list so it can be found in search results. Adding your group or searching the directory is free of charge. This is a new initiative so please add your group and remind organizations in your area to add their own information. AARP will share this directory with its members and the public through its nationwide and local communications channels.

Across Florida, aging-service organizations and community groups are working with volunteers to find ways to help. Here are a few examples:

· Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc. This group is offering a telephone reassurance program. People can make or receive friendly calls to stay connected and reduce anxiety.

· Alzheimer’s Association of Florida offers a phone helpline, answered day or night by trained dementia specialists (800--72.3900). The multilingual helpline offers supporting, information, referrals or care consultations. The association also offers more than 200 local support groups around the state. Learn more at www.alzorg/covid19

· Friendship Centers of Sarasota launched a hotline aimed at combating feelings of isolation caused by the coronavirus. The hotline number is 941-556-3208.

· To cite just one local example among many, in the Crescent Heights neighborhood in St. Petersburg, the local neighborhood association has launched a Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative.

With coronavirus cases on the rise, any local governments and the state of Florida are asking Floridians to remain at home or to observe local curfews. Click here for a recent list of these orders. Also, Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued orders banning the use of vacation rentals. Details here.

Individuals who might be feeling cut off from others because of program shutdowns caused by coronavirus can turn to AARP Community Connections to connect and just hear a friendly voice. The web site allows you to request a call from one of AARP’s 60,000 plus volunteers nationwide. Volunteers are gearing up to provide a listening ear.

For more tips and resources about coping with coronavirus, go to www.aarp.org/coronavirus .

“If you’re working with neighbors and friends to reach out and help those in need in your community, thank you,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. “You’re making a difference as we all work through this crisis. We encourage community groups to share information about their efforts through the AARP Community Connections site.”

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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