For Chula Vista seniors, resource and event information is now just a phone call away

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Chula Vista found ways to keep senior citizens informed on-site through virtual round table discussions on topics such as food distribution, self-sufficiency and distance learning.

However, some older adults were unable to attend because they did not have internet access or a computer at home.

Go to the Chula Vista Senior Connect phone line. The new service, launched last week, offers a “one-stop-shop” to access a variety of local resources important to older adults and caregivers, said Stacey Kurz, a senior project coordinator at the development services City.

All you have to do is dial 619-409-1932.

“That really came from COVID,” said Kurz. “We are aware that during this time there were limitations to reaching our senior community and we have had so many great resources made available to our senior community during that time, but really many of them were not using technology and we are realizing that at.” the telephone line was really probably our best means of reaching people. “

During the pandemic, there wasn’t a single source of access to information, whether it was through pantries, the Norman Park Senior Center, or locations for COVID-19 tests and vaccines.

“There were as many separate phone lines as the needs grew, but we saw that the phone was the primary means of reaching these people and that was the beginning of a phone line idea. We wanted to have a central place to reach resources and get timely information, ”said Kurz.

Community Congregational Development Corporation, which provides financial support and resources to seniors in South Bay, participated in the COVID-19 roundtables. Laurie Orange, secretary of the CCDC, said the new phone service is “better because everything is in one place”.

“I think it’s great that the seniors have a number they can call and get a lot of information that would otherwise be very difficult to define,” she said. “Unless you’re on the system and trying to get your bearings through government agencies or other types of phone lines, it’s nearly impossible.”

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, who also attended the virtual round tables, said the new service will help engage even greater numbers of seniors across the city.

“CV Senior Connect serves as a one-stop shop for our senior community to memorize a number, access a wealth of services, and participate in our community,” she said in a statement.

When users call the phone line, they are greeted with an automated message that provides options to reach the senior center, library, grocery deliveries, COVID-19 vaccines, testing sites, and learn more about Project Care, a San Diego program County, which also has references to community resources for senior citizens living alone. The line also offers a weekly automatic opt-in message that forwards information about Chula Vista events and programs such as yoga classes or bingo.

In partnership with 211 San Diego, the city launched CV Senior Connect with a $ 50,000 grant it received from the San Diego Foundation through its Age-Friendly Community program in November 2020.

William York, CEO of 211 San Diego, said other cities could follow this approach.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the digital divide older adults face, and CV Senior Connect is an innovative approach that local cities and governments can take to break down technology barriers,” said York. “We believe this partnership will become a successful model for other cities to connect more individuals and families to services and resources in our region.”

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