Letter from the Director: February 2022

Hello!  Just when we all thought we were moving towards improved lifestyles as more and more of the population became vaccinated, OMICRON impacted our lives.  While we are not seeing many actual cases of COVID or Omicron, we are seeing an uptake in the number of individuals having to quarantine due to possible exposure.

I’d like to address two concerns with the spread of Omicron:  a) Take precaution when purchasing a Home COVID Test Kit – there are companies/individuals selling fake tests that will jeopardize your wellbeing; the state is working hard to shut these companies down but it is a huge task and will take time;  b) if you receive a text message on your cellphone, stating that you have been exposed to COVID, please take the text serious.  However, do not let it frighten you as we are all starting to receive these notifications, but they do not state ‘where you were possibly   exposed’ nor ‘give you a date’.  We ask that if you are registered in a class/service, please notify us before you   arrive at the building and adhere to our policy that you are required to quarantine for 5 days before entering the building.  You will also need proof of a negative test.  All staff, volunteers and instructors are adhering to this policy as well.

We will make every effort to find substitute teachers for a class, should an instructor have to quarantine but the   reality is that there has been a mass retirement of instructors serving the senior population in our county during COVID.  We especially see this with fitness programs and medical services.  This is also the reason why you have not seen the return of some of services that were so treasured at the senior center, such as Massage Therapy,    Legal Advisement and Dental Hygiene.

At this time, all participants/staff/volunteers have submitted Proof of Vaccination and we will seek proof of any new members.  Staff and instructors have all submitted proof of booster shots as well.  Safety is our priority and until  we see great improvement in the fight against COVID, we will continue to do so.  Occasionally, I am asked why    we are having in-person classes and not offering everything on Zoom.  The answer is very straight forward – in    our community, the number of seniors that are not able to navigate Zoom on their computers plus the number of     seniors who do NOT use computers is high.  We have an obligation to serve those who are unable to use Zoom and benefit from in-person programming.  As for larger scale events such as our Bingo, we have limited the sale of   tickets and created a unique social distancing seating chart.  Of course, masks will be worn during any larger  events as well.

FREE TAX PREPARATION 2022 – we will be hosting this service again this year.  AARP volunteers will manage all appointment scheduling themselves beginning February and can be reached at 425-610-8186.  When you call this number, you will automatically hear a voice message; please leave your name and phone # as they will get back to you as soon as they are able to.  The return call may take several days so do not be concerned, they will reach out to you in the order the calls were received.

We are diligently writing grants, creating new partnerships for services and finding unique ways to serve our community within the challenges presented by Covid and Omicron.  Thank you for supporting the center and understanding the difficulties the pandemic continues to place on us.  Despite the challenges, we are loving hearing the laughter in our hallways and sharing conversations with you as you arrive for your classes.  See you at the Center!

Theresa LaCroix
Director, Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center