As the COVID-19 emergency continues, many of us are staying home and practicing social/physical distancing to reduce the spread of the virus. Staying home is especially important if you are an older adult, have a chronic health condition, or are immunocompromised.
Here are some tips on getting the help and services you need while limiting your time out of the house. And if you must leave your house, follow these steps to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus.
Online Banking and Direct Deposit
Many banks have closed or limited the open hours of their branch locations, and are encouraging their customers to use online banking. Online banking allows you to monitor your account balances and pay bills from home. Certain mobile banking features can also allow you to deposit checks using a smartphone. Visit your bank’s website or call your bank’s customer service line to see what services are available.
This is also a good time to arrange for the direct deposit of incoming funds (such as your NYSLRS pension or your paycheck) to your bank account.
If your bank offers a drive-thru or walk-up ATM, the CDC recommends that you clean the ATM keyboard or screen with an antiseptic wipe before using it, and to wash your hands thoroughly after making transactions.
Online Grocery Shopping and Special Shopping Hours
Depending on where you live, your local grocery chain may offer online shopping. Visit your grocery store’s website to see what services are available. They may offer home delivery, where a delivery driver can leave your groceries at your door, or curbside pick-up, where you can pick up your order without needing to leave your car.
Your grocery store may also offer special shopping hours for older or other at-risk customers. If you are unable to place an online order, visit the store’s website or call ahead to see if there are special hours.
Virtual Doctor Appointments
Appointments with your doctor are important to keep, but in some instances, you or your doctor may want to postpone upcoming appointments for you or members of your family. Fortunately, some offices are now offering telemedicine visits as an alternative to in person appointments. Telemedicine visits can take the form of phone calls or video chats with your doctor or another healthcare professional. Visit your doctor’s office website or call ahead to see if this option is available to you.
Your health insurance company may also offer some information about telemedicine. Here are several New York health insurance providers who offer telemedicine resources:
If your doctor wants you to come to the office, be sure to ask about and follow any safety measures they’ve put into place. These safety measures are meant to protect you and your family, medical staff, and other patients.
And Your Pets Too!
Your pets may have medical appointments of their own to keep. Call your veterinarian to see if and how they are accepting pets or prescribing medicine during this time. In some instances, they may ask you to stay in the car while they take your pet inside for treatment.
The CDC offers additional information about keeping your pets safe during the COVID-19 emergency.
Getting Help from the Local Community
Stay in touch with what your local community is doing during the COVID-19 emergency. You can check community websites, social media groups, and local news outlets to see what services are being offered to seniors or at-risk adults. Other community resources, like reputable volunteer organizations, may also be available to assist you.
For more information about running errands during the COVID-19 emergency, visit the CDC’s website. If you live in New York, stay up to date on statewide initiatives by visiting the NY Department of Health’s website.