DeSoto’s Parks and Recreation Department, which operates the City’s Senior Activity Center, is conducting an outreach effort to contact more than 3,000 DeSoto Seniors.
The Senior Activity Center received between 100 and 150 visits from seniors each day before the COVID-19 pandemic. The seniors would participate in regularly scheduled activities, eat lunch, or conduct choir practice for their Golden Voices Choir.
According to officials with the City of DeSoto, Parks and Recreation personnel kept in contact with the seniors after the center was closed on March 16. On April 6, the center expanded their efforts and began a large scale outreach program to contact more than 3,000 seniors in DeSoto.
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“Our calls are friendly and supportive," M. Reneé Johnson, DeSoto’s former Interim City Manager and current Director of DeSoto’s Parks & Recreation Department, said. "There are enough challenges for older residents these days that we want to ease their minds and make sure that all is well."
Officials with the City of DeSoto said that Parks and Recreation outreach personnel are listening for any spoken “red flags” that might indicate a problem while communicating with seniors.
Outreach personnel are also appealing the families, friends, and neighbors of seniors, asking them to “be their brother’s keeper” and help the seniors to get through this crisis period.
Officials said that asking a senior if you can pick up their groceries, prescriptions, or medications, and arranging a contact-free drop-off can help keep seniors from being at risk.
“As difficult as it is for all of us living through the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s especially hard on our Seniors who are at highest risk and who also feel the loneliness of isolation,” DeSoto Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan said. “Our Parks & Recreation Department is reaching out to 3,000 of them on DeSoto’s behalf to see how they are doing and let them know that they are not alone and that we are going to make it through this together.”