Arizona's Homebound Seniors Are Vulnerable To COVID-19, But Largely Forgotten When It Comes To Vaccine

Published: Monday, January 11, 2021 - 10:04am
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:48pm

Arizona's homebound seniors are people who really don’t leave their homes. They may go to a doctor’s appointment, but often rely on volunteers for a ride or food shopping. And they are just as vulnerable to COVID-19 as older adults in long-term care. But this group has been largely forgotten when it comes to getting the vaccine.

Mary Beals-Luedtka is the Area Agency on Aging director for the Northern Arizona Council of Governments. Her organization works with mostly rural seniors. 

"And so no, I don't hear much chatter about them. When we talk about vaccinations," said Beals-Luedtk.

And just because they are more isolated doesn’t mean they’re safe. 

"Somebody has to deliver their food. If Meals on Wheels are going in, they do have interaction with other people, what if we are sending in an attendant care? They should be they have to go out to the doctor, they have to be vaccinated."

Beals-Luedtka says the effort to vaccinate homebound seniors seems to vary from county to county, though she did describe it as “pretty disjointed.”

"There is no plan that I know of,  certainly not in my counties, to vaccinate these folks. And we are going to meet with the head of the nursing program at NIU on the 12th. And I'm going to also discuss it with her. Is there any way they can help? I don't know."

Her organization only recently started working with the Arizona Department of Health Services to get the vaccine to this population. 

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