Senior center eyes reopening as pandemic eases

OKLAHOMA CITY —

This pandemic year has been tough for many people – particularly seniors.






Many adult day centers shut down because of COVID-19, leaving some older adults without a place to go for their social gatherings.

Patricia Smith, 74, is thrilled to finally get her vaccine shot.

“That didn’t even hurt!” she said.

Smith was a familiar face at Valir Pace’s Senior Day Center until it closed in March 2019.

“It has really been lonely, staying at home,” she said.

With no family and only weekly interactions with her nurse aide, she’s ready to see her friends again.

“I’ve talked to friends on the phone. You know, we still kind of stay in touch, but it’s not like seeing each other every day,” she said.

Valir Pace is working to make this happen. They’re providing transportation to get COVID-19 shots at their drive-thru vaccination clinic.

“Valir Pace staff, as well as Boomer Solutions, are executing this in a drive-thru mechanism where they are in a car,” said Kevin Morefield, director of community relations for Valir Pace.

"We execute the vaccine in the car with themselves with one shot,” he said. “They will obviously will stay to make sure there's no reactions to the shot, and then once they're clear they're able to go home."

Morefield said it’s one step closer to ending the year of separation and isolation for their most vulnerable.

"They know the light is at the end of the tunnel of opening up the center,” he said.

“I’ll be so glad,” Smith said of the day when the center reopens.

Valir Pace is working to get all of their seniors vaccinated so they can reopen the center. The date has yet to be determined.

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