Q: I still have concerns eating in a restaurant. I have never used a website to have food delivered to my home. I don’t know where to start. Is it safe, and what should I know?

Answer: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are all experiencing a time of uncertainty as we try to adjust to the “new normal” of everyday life. Some of us, especially seniors, are still hesitant to visit and have a “dine in” meal. Fortunately, we can still enjoy good food as many restaurants offer curbside service and home delivery.

You are not alone in wondering if having food delivered is safe. Despite the fact that the virus can live on surfaces such as cardboard and plastic, recent evidence from the Food and Drug Administration shows that there is only a small chance that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or its packaging. A bigger safety concern about food delivery is possible contact between drivers and customers. To address this, most restaurants and delivery services are reducing risk by implementing contactless drop-offs. To increase the safety of food delivery it’s definitely a good idea to make sure to wash your hands after receiving the food and not touch your face as an extra precaution.

Currently during the pandemic, the Winston Salem Journal is offering a detailed listing of restaurants (including phone #’s and website info) that offer curbside service and delivery. The listing is available in both the print and online editions of the paper. You can find it at https://bit.ly/2AR8aqZ.

Many of the restaurants offer direct delivery using their own employees, while several others use “3rd party delivery.” The concept of third-party delivery has been a growing trend in the restaurant business the last few years. Restaurants who don’t want to take on the additional costs of setting up their own online ordering and delivery system contract with companies who provide the systems platform and the delivery of the food. The delivery companies charge the restaurants a fee for their services. Some of the best known of these delivery services are companies like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. Most customer orders for delivery by third-party companies are done through the individual restaurants websites or via direct phone calls to the restaurants. Consumers can also access the apps offered by the delivery companies to review the list of restaurants that they deliver for and place orders through the app.

To access an app from one of the delivery companies you’ll need to have a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet. You would go into your App Store to search for the service you would like to use, such as Grubhub, and then click download. After downloading you will open the app to get started. Because security is such a concern most apps make you verify your phone number and account by sending a code through text message. Most of the apps also have a step by step walkthrough to familiarize you with how to create orders. They also likely have easy to use search bars that allow you to personalize each of your deliveries.

If you are not necessarily looking for a service that provides you actual meals but instead want groceries delivered to your home, most of the major food chains in the Winston-Salem area offer delivery service. To review the details of the process for each company and determine if delivery service is available in your area, just visit the website of your favorite grocery store.

Remember these services are in bigger demand than before the pandemic and wait times may be longer. Tipping is highly recommended for curbside meal pick up, meal delivery, and grocery store deliveries and is a wonderful way to show your support to local people in these often difficult economic times.

Q: Is there a program where I can get assistance with the cost of medications?

AW

Answer: MedAssist, a nonprofit pharmacy, provides access to lifesaving prescription medication to uninsured residents of North Carolina. They are dedicated to ensuring that no eligible person in North Carolina has to choose between purchasing food and needed medication.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, MedAssist has made their enrollment application readily available online. The completed application, along with various supporting documents verifying eligibility, including proof of residency and income, can be submitted online. To qualify, the total income for a household must be at least 200% below poverty level. For example, a household with one person must have income below $2,127 a month, or $25,520 annually. Income in a two-person household cannot exceed $2,873 per month or $34,480 annually. Once enrollment is approved, prescription medication is mailed directly to the patient’s home usually for a 90-day supply. Valid prescriptions issued by the patient’s healthcare provider are required for ordering medications. A prescription is not required when submitting the application for approval.

Detailed information is available at medassist.org or you can call 866-331-1348 for assistance.

AgeWise is a weekly column compiled by staff of Senior Services Inc., a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem. If you have a question, email agewise@seniorservicesinc.org or mail to Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.

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