Program aims to help Pa. seniors vulnerable to COVID-19 connect with family

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania has announced visitor and personal restrictions will continue at nursing homes, personal care facilities and long-term care centers for 28 days after the county they are in returns to the "green" phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan. 

That means residents will continue to be sheltered from the outside world because of coronavirus. There is a new effort to keep people connected.

Seniors in nursing homes and retirement communities have been hit hard by COVID-19, and restrictions imposed to keep this vulnerable population as safe as possible have meant that many haven’t seen their families for months.

Robert Torres, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, says the commonwealth is teaming with AARP to make sure residence can keep in touch.

“The intent of the project was to get communication devices, cell phones and tablets, into nursing facilities and personal care homes. This will increase the opportunity to make sure that residents who needed and wanted to be connected to their family and friends could do so," Torres said. 

He says AARP purchased the phones and tablets and currently 49 centers in 37 counties have made a request.