As we all adjust to the “new normal” during this public health crisis, we want to make sure you have access to the knowledge you need in order to protect your health, safety, and welfare, or be the very best caregiver that you can be. Here you’ll find a collection of Iona blog posts and other valuable information.
If you have any additional questions, need referrals, or want to discuss your concerns with a real person, you can also call Iona’s free Helpline. We’re here to answer your questions and direct you to the services that you need. Contact (202) 895-9448, and press 1 to reach the Helpline, or email email@example.com.
Table of Contents
Updates from Iona
Iona’s leadership and staff have been closely following the developing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The health and welfare of our clients, staff, and volunteers is our top priority. Our main building located at 4125 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, DC 20016 is closed and staff is working remotely.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
District of Columbia residents aged 65 and older are now eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
New appointments are released on Thursdays at 9:00 AM to eligible residents in priority zip codes (Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8) and Fridays at 9:00 AM for all DC zip codes.
Please note: Iona is NOT a vaccine site.
To register for a vaccine appointment:
- Visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc
- Or, call the District’s call center at 855-363-0333 (Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM-7:00 PM; Saturdays from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM)
- Call United Medical Center at 202-574-6473 between 7:30 AM-6:30 PM.
Review this helpful Vaccination Appointment Guide from the District of Columbia.
Transportation for vaccine appointments
The District’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) cover all transportation (free of charge), to and from, all medically necessary covered services and appointments. To request transportation, the Enrollee should call the following number to schedule the service:
- AmeriHealth 1-800-315-3485 (Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM)
- CareFirst 1-855-824-5693 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
- MedStar Health 1-866-201-9974
- MetroAccess 301-562-5360
To sign up for an alert via text or email for when new appointments are available:
If you have already received your first dose of the vaccine, sign up for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s V-Safe after vaccination health checker program here (smartphone required):
You can also view these additional resources on the COVID-19 vaccine:
How to Get Help
Iona’s Helpline continues to operate our normal hours during this crisis, M-F from 9am-5pm ET. If you have any aging- or caregiving-related questions — whether concerns triggered by the virus or needs that are unrelated (help for a parent after a fall; help for someone who has been financially abused by a neighbor) — please call 202-895-9448 and press 1 to reach the Helpline, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with our Helpline staff.
Iona’s Helpline: 202-895-9448 (press 1 to reach the Helpline) or email@example.com
- Neighbors across the District have also launched different DC Mutual Aid efforts to support each other.
Ward 1: (202) 681-9183
Ward 2: (202) 688-5812
Ward 3: (202) 556-1315
Ward 4: (202) 681-3098
Ward 5: (202) 643-7030
Ward 6: (202) 683-9962
Wards 7 & 8: (202) 630-0336
- List of local COVID-19 testing sites
- DMV Neighbors Helping Each Other Through COVID-19 Facebook page
- DC Mutual Aid Facebook page
How to Stay Safe
We encourage everyone to monitor updates and take hygiene precautions as suggested by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- How to Wear and Sew a Face Cloth Covering by the federal CDC
- How to Protect Yourself
- What to Do If You Are Sick
- Caring for Someone at Home
Government Assistance and Public Benefits During Covid-19
If you are currently receiving public benefits (TANF, SNAP aka Food Stamps, DC Medicaid, DC Alliance, childcare vouchers), and your benefits are set to expire, your benefits will be automatically renewed. You do not need to visit a Department of Human Service Center to renew.
Some programs and benefits are still accepting new applications. Iona’s team will be able to work with you over the phone. Please call Iona at 202-895-9448 (press 1 to reach the Helpline) for more information and to speak with our Helpline staff.
Additionally, under new legislation passed by the D.C. Council, tenants have protections during this public health crisis:
- Landlords may not evict residential or commercial tenants. Evictions that have already been filed may not move forward and no new evictions may be filed.
- Landlords may not charge late fees for any month in which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency
- Utility companies may not disconnect your gas, water, or electric service
- Companies and individuals may not illegally stockpile essential items, such as sanitizer. Violating this stockpiling provision will result in a $5,000 fine per violation.
Legal Aid Society has also created a guide on “How to Apply for Public Benefits in the District during COVID-19.” Read it here.
As of 5/13/20, residents participating in SNAP program may use their EBT benefits to purchase groceries online through Amazon.com.
Through the Department of Aging and Community Living, Iona is able to deliver 7 frozen meals/week to eligible older adults. Please call (202) 895-9448 and press 1 to reach the Helpline, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to enroll in meal delivery.
Other Grocery Store Senior Hours:
Other Food Resources:
Scams During Covid-19
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has released a consumer alert related to scams during the COVID crisis. Scammers may attempt to defraud consumers by selling products that are ineffective at preventing the disease and spreading misinformation through social media and other channels. Other scammers may pretend to solicit donations to help coronavirus victims, but instead are stealing consumers’ money and personal information.
What to look out for:
- Scammers may set up websites to sell bogus “coronavirus products” — from face masks to vaccines to cure-alls — and use fake emails, texts and social media posts to get you to share payment or sensitive personal information.
- You may come across emails or social posts claiming to promote awareness or give prevention tips, including fake information about cases in your neighborhood.
- Scammers may use this as a way to tout a new can’t-miss “investment opportunity” — for example, in face masks or a cure.
- You may get donation requests claiming to raise money to help victims.
Tips from the Federal Trade Commission:
- Don’t click on email links from sources you don’t know. They could download malware on your device.
- Ignore any online offers for vaccinations or treatments. If a vaccine or treatment is developed, you will hear about it in the news, not from an online ad or sales pitch.
- If you receive a communication claiming to be from a government agency like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close the email and then visit the agency’s website directly at www.cdc.gov.
- Engage your inner skeptic when confronted with donation requests from unknown sources. Before giving, check out charity watchdogs like give.org or charitynavigator.org.
- Spammers Sending Unsolicited Text Messages Referencing Food Stamps
- Scammers Offer Phony SNAP Application Assistance
- Scammers Offering Assistance to SNAP Retail Stores for a Fee
- SNAP Toll-Free Hotline Number Spoofed By External Entity
Social & Wellness Activities
- Iona has launched 17 fitness classes, as well as book groups, current event groups, and technology workshops available online. Sign up by 9:00 pm the night before and you will be issued a Zoom (or conference call) invitation 15 minutes before the class is to begin. Find the classes by the day of the week on the Around Town DC website here: https://www.aroundtowndc.org/. You may need to “Load More Events” to see all the offerings. To download Zoom, visit https://support.zoom.us/…/artic…/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting and practice a bit. Email email@example.com if you need help.
- We’ve compiled a list of online platforms that you can use to stay in touch with friends and loved ones: Technology to Stay Connected through COVID-19.
- Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) is offering support for LGBT older adults who feel isolated during this time by matching them with community members to connect about their day, or just to say “hi.” For more information about the Sage connect program, visit sageusa.org/sageconnect, or call 929-484-4160 to register for the program. For help, the SAGE hotline number is 877-360-LGBT (5428).
- Online recreational classes now being offered by OASIS and Live & Learn Bethesda.
- If you’re looking for someone to talk to while you’re staying home, try the The Department of Aging and Community Living DC Call & Talk program. To enroll in the program, call 202-724-5626. You will go through their voice mail prompts, and talk to one of the Information & Referral coordinators. They will have someone call you within 24 hours, and after an interview, you will be assigned someone as your conversation partner.
Mental Health and Self-Care
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety. The situation today may be different next month or even tomorrow. Things are changing fast. During stressful times, practicing self-care becomes even more important. Practicing self-care and simple grounding techniques can help put a pause on these feelings of stress, as well as connecting with individual or group therapy.
- Iona’s blog, Practicing Self-Care in Uncertain Times
- Iona’s blog, 10 Mental Health & Wellness Quarantine Tips
- Mental Health Support Resource Guide from Embody Lib
- There are many tools and applications to use on your phone, computer, or smart device that can help with deep breathing or meditation.
- Find therapists providing tele-mental health via the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (https://adaa.org/finding-help/telemental-health/provider_listing) or via Help Pro’s Advanced Search (https://helppro.com/HP/AdvancedSearch.aspx); search under “accessibility/availability” option.
- How to prepare for online counseling: https://onlinecounselingprograms.com/blog/find-prepare-online-counseling-session/
- Iona’s Blog Post, “Resources for Family Caregivers During the Covid-19 Crisis”
- New Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Leave in the Families First Response Act
- Iona’s Blog Post, “COVID-19 Resources for “Grandfamilies”
- The Creative Caregiving Guide© was created by the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA). The Guide is filled with short video lessons that guide users through hands-on learning experiences, from paintings, poetry, music, storytelling, to drama and dance exercises. It is a FREE, community-shared, web-based resource specially designed for family and professional caregivers of adults who live with Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive disorders.
- Updated federal guidance on “caring for someone [with COVID-19] at home” available from the CDC.
Villages are neighborhood-based organizations that assist people age in the community safely and comfortably. Most models are membership-based with services such as transportation, computer training, and home maintenance. Often these services are provided by volunteers and vetted professional providers. Villages also may offer social and educational activities. This is a good time to reach out to your Village to see what services they are offering members.
Capitol Hill Village, 202-543-1778 | 725 8th Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003 | www.capitolhillvillage.org
Cleveland and Woodley Park Village, 202-615-5853 | PO Box 11231, Washington, DC 20008 | www.clevelandwoodleyparkvillage.org
DC Waterfront Village, 202-656-1834 | 800 Maine Ave SW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20024-2811 | www.dcwaterfrontvillage.org
Dupont Circle Village, 202-436-5252 | 2121 Decatur Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008 | www.dupontcirclevillage.net
East Rock Creek Village, 202-656-7322 | 7707 13th St NW, Washington, DC 20012 | http://www.eastrockcreekvillage.com/
Foggy Bottom West End Village, 202-333-1327 | 2430 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 | www.fbwevillage.org
Georgetown Village, 202-999-8988 | PO Box 3563, Washington, DC 20027 | www.georgetown-village.org
Glover Park Village, 202-436-5545 | PO Box 32255, Washington, DC 20007 | www.gloverparkvillage.org
Mount Pleasant Village, 202-468-0364 | 1735 Lamont St. NW, Washington, DC 20010 | http://www.mountpleasantvillage.org
Northwest Neighbors Village, 202-777-3435 | 4901 Connecticut Ave NW suite#112, Washington, DC 20015 | www.nnvdc.org
Palisades Village, 202-244-3310 | 5200 Cathedral Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016 | www.palisadesvillage.org
Pennsylvania Avenue Village East, Inc., 202-581-6160 | 3130 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020 | www.pavillageeast.org
- Bannockburn Neighbors Assisting Neighbors (NAN), Inc. | c/o Bannockburn Community Association | www.bannockburncommunity.org
- Bethesda Metro Area Village, 240-630-2628 | P.O. Box 30525, Bethesda, MD 20824 | www.bmavillage.org
- Bradley Hills Village, 240-600-1846 | PO Box 341823, Bethesda, MD 20827 | http://bradleyhillsvillage.weebly.com/
- Burning Tree Village, Inc., 240-389-3829 | c/o 8404 Beech Tree Road | Bethesda, MD 20817 | www.burningtreevillage.org
- Cheverly Village, 240-770-1033 | c/o 3416 Belleview Ave., Cheverly MD 20785 | cheverlyvillage.org/
- Chevy Chase At Home, 301-657-3115 | PO Box 15102, Chevy Chase, MD 20825 | www.chevychaseathome.org
- Friendship Heights Neighbors, 240-620-3285 | c/o Constance Row | 4600 N Park Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815 | www.fhneighbors.org
- Greater Stonegate Village, 240-918-7989 | P.O. Box 10009 Silver Spring, MD 20914 | www.greaterstonegatevillage.org
- Hyattsville Aging in Place, 301-887-3101 | P.O. Box 113, Hyattsville, MD 20781 | www.hyattsvilleaginginplace.org
- Little Falls Village, 301-320-3267 | 4701 Sangamore Dr. Ste. # S232 Bethesda, MD 20816 | www.littlefallsvillage.org
- Manor Connections, 240-408-5507 | http://manorconnections.org
- Mill Creek Village, 240-686-5870 | 17713 Caddy Drive Derwood, MD 20855 | millcreekvillage.wordpress.com
- North Chevy Chase Connections, 240-343-2446 | PO Box 654, Kensington, MD 20895 | www.northchevychaseconnections.org
- Olney Home for Life, 301-446-2512 | P.O. Box 1684, Olney, MD 20830 | www.olneyhomeforlife.org
- Potomac Community Village, 240-221-1370 | PO Box 59424 Potomac, MD 20859 | www.potomaccommunityvillage.org
- Silver Spring Village, 301-503-7401 | 8700 Georgia Ave., Suite 306 Silver Spring, MD 20910 | www.silverspringvillage.org
- Somerset Helping Hand Senior Village, www.townofsomerset.com/2160/Helping-Hand
- Village of Takoma Park, 301-646-2109 | PO Box 11420 Takoma Park, MD 20912 | villageoftakomapark.com
- Villages of Kensington, 301-509-0191 | P.O. Box 118, Kensington, MD 20895-0118 | www.villagesofkensington.org
- Arlington Neighborhood Village, 703-509-8057 | 2666 Military Road Arlington, VA 22207 | www.arlnvil.org
- At Home in Alexandria, 703-231-0824 | 3139 Mt. Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA 22305-2669 | www.athomeinalexandria.org
- Herndon Village Network, 703-375-9439 | P.O. Box 5143 Herndon, VA 20172 | www.herndonvillagenetwork.org
- Lake Barcroft Village, Inc., 703-354-0652 | P.O. Box 4645 Falls Church, VA 22044 | www.lakebarcroftvillage.org/
- Mount Vernon At Home, 703-303-4060 | P.O. Box 7493 Alexandria, VA 22307 | www.mountvernonathome.org
- Reston for a Lifetime, 703-672-1116 | www.restonforalifetime.org
How You Can Help
If you’re looking for ways to support your neighbors —whether financially, donating your time, or dropping off supplies, the following list of organizations/efforts may be looking for assistance:
Help keep Iona’s safety net services going!
We are navigating uncharted waters and face significant funding gaps. If you’re able to, we would be grateful for any financial assistance. Your contribution will go towards supporting older adults and families during this crisis—providing food to homebound seniors, offering virtual wellness and fitness programs that address isolation, continuing support groups and psychotherapy online, answering calls on our Helpline, coordinating care for vulnerable older adults, making wellness check-in calls, and performing other essential services.
Other organization efforts:
- Bread for the City – Accepting monetary donations for groceries, diapers, and medical supplies to give clients during open hours. Please consider making a donation to support their efforts here.
- Capital Area Food Bank – They are experiencing a shortage of volunteers, and are in critical need of help sorting and packing food in their warehouse and assisting at their offsite food distributions. To learn more and sign up, visit volunteer.capitalareafoodbank.org.
- DC Mutual Aid – Neighbors Helping Neighbors efforts to organize by pods. Opens spreadsheet of efforts (click through all tabs)
- DMV Neighbors Helping Each Other Through COVID-19 – A Facebook group connecting neighbors to assist each other during COVID.
- Dining at a Distance – Support restaurants while practicing social distancing. Here is a list of local restaurants and business who are operating delivery and carry-out, as well as ways to support local business during temporary closures.
- Feeding America Meal Connect – Restaurants can sign up and donate their surplus food (tax deductible) to food banks in the area. Restaurants can schedule a pick up time for food banks to pick the food up.
- Food & Friends– Free meal and grocery delivery available to people living with life-challenging illnesses. Clients must be referred by a healthcare provider. They are in urgent need of extra volunteers throughout the coming weeks. There are two volunteer opportunities, food preparation and packaging and meal and grocery delivery. More information found here.
- Food it Forward – Help keep DC restaurant jobs, and help feed DC families in need by buying a meal package. Martha’s Table has teamed up with Clyde’s Restaurant Group, amongst others, to deliver meals to those in need — while helping keep restaurant workers employed.
- Martha’s Table – Volunteers may be needed to help prepare and bag food.
- Miriam’s Kitchen– In need of financial donations to help neighbors experiencing homelessness receive access to a sink or have a home to stay when they are sick.
- So Others Might Eat (SOME) – SOME is in need of items to support their clients who may be ill.
- The Table Church – The Table DC is organizing volunteers to help at-risk members of the DMV community who should not leave their homes during this crisis.
- We Are Family – Volunteer to deliver groceries to seniors
Other Information on Volunteering:
- Iona’s blog post, Covid-19 Safety Tips for Helping Others
- If you’re volunteering or participating in mutual aid efforts, please read these safety practices compiled by Mutual Aid Disaster Relief. Access the PDF here.
- Coronavirus Resources from the Mayor’s office: coronavirus.dc.gov
- Legal Aid DC: Non-legal Resource Guide
- DC Jobs With Justice has compiled a Know Your Rights resource guide, with information about unemployment benefits, taking time off from your job, DC Alliance Insurance, and tenant rights. Available at this link.
- The People’s School of DC has compiled DMV local resources. Access it here.
- COVID-19 fact sheets in 35 languages now available from the Health Literacy Project. Available here.