Begin Main Content Area
COVID-19 Resource Guide for Older Adults

The safety and well-being of Pennsylvania's older adults and their families and caregivers are the Pennsylvania Department of Aging's top priorities.  To keep you updated during COVID-19, we have developed a list of resources and updates to programs and services that we provide.

General COVID-19 Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that results in respiratory illness and is extremely contagious. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea.

Some people, including older adults, seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.  Reducing exposure for those with greater risk is especially important.

How to Reduce Exposure

    • Stay home as much as possible
    • Wash your hands often
    • Keep space between yourself and others (6 feet)
    • Wear a cloth facemask when in public
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

What to Do if You Think You May Have COVID-19

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your doctor.  If you do not have a health care provider, call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Know the Emergency Warning Signs

Emergency warning signs may include difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, an inability to rouse, bluish lips or face or any other issues that are severe.

If you develop emergency warning signs seek medical care immediately

Stay Up-to-Date

For the most accurate and timely information regarding COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's COVID-19 Resource Page or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).


Where to Go for Help

Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) can connect you to programs and services that can help you stay home and stay safe.  While the physical AAA offices are closed, they are still operating and taking calls. Use the Area Aging on Aging Locator to find the AAA serving your local area.

The PA Link assists older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing information and connecting them to supports and services they need (non-medical and medical) to live safely in their homes and communities.  Contact the PA Link Call Center by phone at 1-800-753-8827 or online at www.carelink.pa.gov.

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version

​Learn More About...

Court Functions & Legal Assistance

​Essential Court Functions

While courts have generally been ordered closed to the public through April 30 as a result of the COVID-19 disaster, there are essential court functions that are still being conducted. These essential functions include:

  • Temporary protection from abuse actions;
  • Civil mental health reviews;
  • Guardianship defense and representation;
  • Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm;
  • Emergency petitions related to the protection of abused or neglected children; and
  • Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential and consistent with constitutional requirements.

Legal Assistance

Help is still available for older adults who need legal assistance during this crisis include: 

Meals

Proper nutrition is crucial for overall health. The Department of Aging wants to ensure all older adults still have access to nutritious meals. 

In-home meals, SNAP supplemental grocery assistance program and other services are available to help you through COVID-19.

Contact your local AAA using the Area Aging on Aging Locator to find the AAA serving your local area.

Feeding America can also help by connecting you with local food banks and meal programs near you.  Visit the Feeding America Partner Locator for more information.

If you are facing a food emergency you can call the Department of Human Services Helpline, toll-free, at 1-800-692-7462 or reach out to your local AAA using the Area Aging on Aging Locator.

Nursing Home/Long-Term Care Resident Concerns

Pennsylvania's ombudsman network is prepared to assist consumers with concerns in facilities throughout the current COVID-19 quarantine - advocating for the rights of residents in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, personal-care homes, and assisted-living facilities.

During COVID-19, ombudsmen are also serving as a resource and connecting concerned individuals to the appropriate public health entities, and promoting and facilitating communication with residents through phone, email and video conferencing.

Many of the ombudsmen are teleworking from home, so we ask that you call the state office at (717) 783-8975 or email to LTC-ombudsman@pa.gov.

Virtual Family Council Meetings

Family and friends who are unable to see loved ones living in long-term care facilities because of the COVID-19 emergency may struggle with changes in protocol, rights and policies. The Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is available to help with a new statewide resource called Virtual Family Council.

The program offers weekly online meetings with a local ombudsman and a team of 10 local experts. Anyone can participate and ask questions, share concerns, or just listen to learn and gather information. The meetings will not address specific issues regarding a resident or a facility.

If you would like to attend email Jay Rotz at jarotz@pa.gov and use 'Virtual Family Council' in the subject line to receive a meeting link and instructions.  *The meeting link will remain the same each week so if you would like to attend another meeting you can reuse the same information.

Prescriptions

Early Prescription Refills

PACE, the prescription assistance program, is allowing for early prescription refills in order to allow older adults to keep several weeks' worth of medication on hand as is recommended by the current COVID-19 preparedness guidance.

Under regular circumstances, enrollees must use 75% of their supply before refills will be reimbursed. PACE will now reimburse refills purchased before 75% of the days' supply has passed except for opioids and other controlled substances – these will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

To refill your medication early, simply ask your pharmacy provider.

Pharmacies Offering Free Medication Delivery for All Older Adults

Local pharmacies across Pennsylvania are now offering free delivery for all older adults, even if they are not a PACE beneficiary.

When requesting your medication to be filled or refilled, simply ask your pharmacy provider for free home delivery.

Waived Signature Requirement Now Allows for No-Contact Prescription Delivery

As a result of current COVID-19 guidance, no-contact prescription delivery is now available.

PACE has waived the requirement that pharmacies must obtain a delivery signature on all prescriptions, allowing medications to be left at your door.

If you are having difficulties obtaining your refills, please contact PACE cardholder services at 1-800-225-7223.

Protective Services

​One of our primary responsibilities at the Department of Aging is to protect older adults by investigating suspected cases of abuse quickly and thoroughly.

During the COVID-19 emergency, we are taking steps to reduce the risk of exposure to both older adults and Protective Services workers.

However, rest assured, we are still working every day to protect older Pennsylvanians from abuse, neglect, exploitation and/or abandonment.

If you suspect elder abuse, please call the statewide abuse reporting hotline at 1-800-490-8505, which is open 24/7, 365 days per year.  

Scams

​Unfortunately, major events often result in new scams and COVID-19 has created new opportunities for scammers to target Pennsylvanians.  It is now more important than ever to protect your personal information and be on the lookout for potential scams.

Recent scams include:

  • Calls or emails asking for individuals to provide personal information in order to receive their COVID relief check

  • Phone calls stating there is an issue with your social security benefits and/or they may be canceled if you do not act right away

  • Letters sent through the U.S. Mail threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19 or coronavirus-related office closures

  • Phone calls, text messages or even at home visitors offering COVID-19 tests and/or unapproved treatments

The best defense is to say NO if anyone contacts you and asks for your Social Security number, bank account number, credit card information, Medicare ID number, driver's license number or any other personally identifiable information by phone, in person, by text message, or email.

For Questions or to Report Scams visit:

Staying Active

​While we need to stay home as much as possible, it is more important than ever to keep moving!  Physical activity strengthens our bodies and our immune system and releases endorphins -- helping us feel calm, happy and less stressed.

Remember, social distancing does not mean you must stay indoors. Take a walk or sit on your porch and get some fresh air. 

If staying inside, stretch, meditate or play music and dance.

The National Institute on Aging has lots of workout videos you can easily do in your home with no gym equipment needed!

Silver Sneakers also offers free online classes too and includes:

Staying Connected

​While social distancing has become our new norm, we need to find new ways to stay connected.  Feeling connected has a huge impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

Voting

​Changes have been made to Pennsylvania's primary voting timeline in order to ensure all Pennsylvanians are able to vote safely during the COVID-19 emergency.

Important Dates

  • June 2, 2020, is the new date for PA's primary election, originally scheduled for April 28.
  • May 18, 2020, is now the last day to register to vote.  Also, you can now register to vote online.
  • May 26, 2020, is now the last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot.  You can learn more about mail-in and absentee ballots online.
  • June 2, 2020, is now the last day mail-in and civilian absentee ballots can be received.  The cut-off time, 8 P.M., remains the same.

Visit Votes.pa for more general information about voting and upcoming elections.

Well-being & Happiness

​Staying at home and avoiding crowds is necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Additionally, being of an older age or having underlying medical conditions can make you feel more vulnerable to the virus and can increase your stress and anxiety even further.

If you or a loved one is starting to feel the effects of being isolated, you are not alone.

Take steps to improve your mental well-being during COVID-19 by:

  • Taking a break from the watching or reading the news

  • Making sure you get your information from trusted sources and avoid rumors

  • Learn tips to help better manage stress during this difficult time

  • Making sure you continue to take your medicines and practicing regular daily grooming

  • Finding activities you enjoy like crafting, puzzles, cooking, games, reading or dancing

Know When to Ask for Help

If you're feeling hopeless, overwhelmed and anxious, reach out now!  Talk to a friend, family member, or caregiver and tell them how you are feeling.

You can also reach out by phone to;