For the first time in eight years, Alexandra and Roberto Alonso have had to close the doors of their adult daycare center, indefinitely.
"We have to take the safety and the health of all of our seniors into consideration," said Alexandra, the President of Always at Your Side Daycare.
The senior-centric facility in Miami Lakes is one of many closing on Friday following an emergency order by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, in an ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"We understood that there are still many families that work at banks, that are first responders, doctors and nurses and their family members needed a safe place to be at, so we tried to stay open as long as possible,” co-owner Roberto Alonzo said.
The husband and wife said closing their small business will be a financial burden, but this is only part of their concern.
"All these seniors would come to our centers for 8 hours a day, receive breakfast, lunch, snacks, activities, mind stimulation, activities that kept them physically and mentally active. Now they are all being confined to their homes for 24 hours," said Roberto. "We’re not sure about meals that they are receiving, we’re not sure that their medication is being taken at the right times. They are also going to have a lot of mental and physical ailments that begin to arise due to the self-isolation and depression they are going to be experiencing."
The duo has devised a plan to keep their employees working by helping their homebound seniors.
“Our drivers have become meal delivery folks, our aides that work together with our members have become food servers and preparation as well as our activity directors and doing all the well-check calls," Roberto said.
Alexandra said she is lending her expertise not only to the Miami Lakes Elderly Affairs Committee she’s a part of, but also to county officials to help seniors across Miami-Dade.
"There is so much fear right now. So now we are trying to do a lot of handholding and a lot of communication with all of their seniors and checking on them and their families on a daily basis," she said.
The Alonsos said if you are a senior in need or want to help a senior in need in Miami-Dade County, you can contact them for help at 305-362-2202.