MUSKEGON, Mich. — As vaccine expansion continues to include younger people, some senior citizens continue to wait for the vaccine.
For those who have at-home care and are not residents in nursing homes, scheduling vaccines has been a task that have fallen on the nurses' shoulders.
LifeCircles cares for roughly 300 seniors in Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties with at-home care. Before the pandemic, the seniors would get bused into one of the two facilities in Muskegon or Holland to receive daily care in some cases. They would then return home to independently care for themselves or with the help of a caregiver.
The in-home senior wellness program has been working hard to make sure the seniors they serve can access the highly sought-after vaccine. LifeCircles nurses, bus drivers, personal aides and more have stepped up to help seniors register for the vaccine, transport them to the appointment and provide support during those appointment times.
Registered Nurse Taylor Hunley has been one of the main staff members to help with the scheduling process. So far, she's helped hundreds of patients get the vaccine.
"Sometimes it can be a couple hours a day, kind of designated to that, making sure the documentation is up to date," said Registered Nurse Taylor Hunley.
Hunley's help allows patients to overcome obstacles they may encounter such as lack of transportation and lack of assistance and technological boundaries. She also helps schedule appointments on the internet. It essentially simplifies the process for them.
Staff helped Josie Meritt get an appointment in Muskegon County. She is wheelchair bound, which makes transportation difficult without LifeCircles.
"I had no way to take her. And plus, there’s no way to sign up. I waited quite a while on mine, just getting on different websites," said Barb Crowell, Meritt's caretaker.
The caregiving services also helped Audrey and Pat McCarry.
"This past year was a big change for us, along with everyone else. It was going out of the house less. It was going to the grocery store very few times. Of course, doctors appointments changed, so we didn’t have that," said Audrey, who said it was tough to lose the services from LifeCircles with the outings due to COVID-19.
LifeCircles continues to help seniors.