By Luci Cromer
Like many United Methodists churches, Germantown UMC has a high percentage of older adults. As chair of our church’s Older Adult Council, I realized that many older church members were going to have a hard time registering for the COVID vaccine due to one or more of the following reasons:
- They don’t use a computer
- They don’t have a printer
- They don’t have a cell phone
Each of these is essential because registration is online, a cell number is required to register, and the appointment confirmation is emailed and must be printed out.
With the help of volunteers, we started calling church members whom we thought might need assistance registering. In addition, Sunday school class leaders were alerted to take care of assisting individual class members needing help.
Some volunteers use their email addresses and cell phone numbers to register older adults. Others print out registration receipts and hand deliver them to the older adults they assist. In some cases, volunteers drive older adults to a vaccination site.
Older Adult Council members also trained church administrative staff to register people because some of our custodial, maintenance, and grounds care staff face technology issues similar to those facing older adult members. We have also alerted our local health department that it needs to make arrangements for getting the vaccine to older adults who are homebound.
Luci Cromer has been the Older Adult Coordinator at Germantown United Methodist Church for almost 20 years. She chairs the Older Adult Council and the XYZ (Xtra Young and Zesty) social group at GUMC, and is the former chair of the Memphis Conference Older Adult Council. You may contact her at 901.755.0803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.