Surviving the pandemic: Resources for seniors in the South Bay
Stores such as Zanotto's offer special shopping hours for seniors like Howard Myers of Santa Clara. Photo by Katie Lauer.

As one of the demographics most at risk of developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19, seniors face new challenges navigating daily activities.

In an effort to provide services to seniors who are sheltering at home, state and local officials are offering help through several programs that include meal programs, financial assistance, telehealth services and other community resources.

Here are some of the resources available in Santa Clara County:

Food assistance

Several food assistance programs offer free meals to seniors seven days a week through food delivery and pickup services.

Santa Clara County’s Senior Nutrition Program offers prepared meals to homebound people who are 60 or older and are unable to cook or shop for themselves. The program is available to eligible Santa Clara County residents for takeout instead of the traditional sit-down meal service. To view a map of available locations, click here. 

To sign up for the program, call 408-975-4860 or visit the website.

The Health Trust’s Meals on Wheels program delivers meals to qualifying residents and seniors in Santa Clara County who are homebound and have difficulty getting their own meals due to a medical condition or self-quarantine.

To apply, or for more information, call The Health Trust at 408-961-9870 or email Meals on Wheels at [email protected].

For additional help on where to receive meal assistance, San Jose has launched a virtual map, which includes at least 400 food distribution sites with free meal pick-up locations for students and seniors, food banks and restaurants open for takeout.

For other assistance on receiving free meals, call 800-984-3663 or text GETFOOD to 408-455- 5181.

Santa Clara Senior Center, located at 1303 Fremont St. in Santa Clara, is closed, but curbside pickup for meals is available. The center also offers welfare checks and phone assistance.

The center can be reached at 408-615-3170.

Santa Clara city residents age 60 and older can qualify for the senior nutrition or supplemental senior meals programs. For the senior nutrition program’s to-go meals, residents can pickup meals between 11 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday. To reserve meals by noon for next-day pickup, call 408-615-3170.

Weekend breakfast and lunch to-go meals are available between 11 a.m. and noon on Fridays through curbside pickup or home delivery. To receive weekend meals, call 408-615-3170. Residents must call by 5 p.m. on Wednesday to receive meals for the weekend.

Senior grocery hours

Many grocery stores provide senior hours, often early in the morning after shops have been cleaned, to help limit exposure to the coronavirus.

For more information about stores that have special hours for seniors, visit the Silicon Valley Strong website here. For information about grocery stores, restaurants, pickup, and delivery options, click here.

Mental health

Mental Health Services Call Center operates 24 hours a day, every day. The center makes referrals for residents in need of mental health services and offers help in multiple languages.

To contact the center, call 1-800-704-0900. For people who speak a language other than English, call 1-800-704-0900.

The Suicide and Crisis Hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for residents in crisis. People in need of immediate help can call 1-855-278-4204.

The Crisis Text Line provides free, text-based, confidential assistance to people in need in Santa Clara County. For support from a mental health provider, Santa Clara County residents can text RENEW to 741741.

The Warmline staff at NAMI Santa Clara County are available to support anyone in need of emotional support through phone and email, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents can call 408-453-0400 (press option 1) or email [email protected]. For more information on NAMI’s services, residents can visit the organization’s website.

“Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In” is a statewide campaign launched by Gov. Gavin Newsom that provides a hotline where residents can seek services or assistance during the crisis. The number for the hotline is 1-833-544-2374.

Financial and other community services

For a complete list of countywide resources and ways to seek financial services, click here.

For other community resources available to older adults, seniors can call 2-1-1 or visit the county’s website.

Contact Nadia Lopez at [email protected] or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: In a new series focused on bringing you “news you can use” during the crisis, we provide tips and explanatory stories to help you survive the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you want to know? Let us know: [email protected].

Catch up on our other stories:

How to apply for unemployment benefits in California

Make your own CDC-approved mask (plus how to store it)

Can’t pay rent? Here’s what you should do

How to get into a homeless shelter in Silicon Valley

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