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12/18/2020 - Cumberland County Helping Seniors Through COVID with Innovation

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NEW JERSEY (December 8, 2020) Senior citizens, vulnerable to the most severe health consequences of COVID-19, have also experienced the greatest impact from extended social isolation. The Cumberland County Department of Aging and Disabled has implemented several innovative programs to combat the social isolation affecting Cumberland County’s senior citizens during the pandemic.

The Cumberland County Department of Aging and Disabled Executive Director, Barbara Nedohon, describes the programs as a “lifeline to the outside world.” One program, provides “Joy for All” robotic companion pets as an alternative to traditional pet therapy for those living alone and cannot care for a pet as well as those suffering from dementia. “For many seniors without the ability to care for a live pet, robotic pets designed to respond to motion, touch and sound, can provide tremendous comfort and companionship”, stated Nedohon. “It is truly gratifying to see how these robotic companions can ease their sense of isolation and provide needed emotional support”, added Nedohon.

As local municipal and township senior centers have been closed since March 2020 and are likely to remain closed for many months more, the Department of Aging and Disabled is developing a “virtual senior center” ( where, once registered, seniors can attend various activities and programs offered by local agencies online. “Seniors should check our website frequently, as our calendar of events will be updated regularly”, stated Nedohon. “We will also have a limited number of tablets available to loan to seniors for those without computers who wish to participate in virtual senior center activities”, added Nedohon.

The Office on Aging and Disabled offers several other programs to ease the isolating impact of the pandemic on seniors. “Our staff can provide assistance to seniors without the technology or ability to conduct a virtual visit with their doctor”, stated Nedohon. “Perhaps most importantly, our Telephone Reassurance Program is there for our vulnerable seniors living alone who benefit from a daily phone call from a caring volunteer”, declared Nedohon.

Cumberland County Commissioner Carol Musso, Co-Liaison to the Office on Aging and Disabled Advisory Council, applauded the efforts of the Office on Aging and Disabled stating, “I commend Director Nedohon and her staff on their use of innovative ways to connect with our isolated seniors who need our love and support during this very difficult time.” Commissioner Jim Quinn, Co-Liaison to the Office declared, “Our Board of Commissioners is committed to supporting these creative initiatives until we can return to normal and spend time with our cherished seniors in person.”

For more information on any of these programs, call the Cumberland County Department of Aging and Disabled at 856-453-2220.

Pictured from left to right: Barbara Nedohon, Executive Director of the Cumberland County Department of Aging & Disabled, and Commissioner Carol Musso, Liaison for the Office of Aging & Disabled


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