Coronavirus News: NYC senior center is taking meetings virtual during COVID-19 crisis

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- A senior center in Queens that can no longer hold meetings in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, is now taking them virtual.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but unfortunately for hundreds of seniors with the Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York, Valentine's Day was one of their last big gatherings before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

With those physical bonds and bi-weekly meetings in person temporarily broken, anxiety and fear spread.

Cardiologist Dr. Narendra Bhalodkar says senior citizens are prone to rapid loneliness during this time.

However, with COVID-19 hitting the elderly hard, the center is now assuring their 1,400 members are connected and mentally strong by taking meetings online.

Indo-American Senior Citizen Center President Mukund Mehta says when the members see each other, they feel happy.

The meetings certainly aren't formal. They have professionals for talks, memory games, yoga and entertainment. Basically, anything to keep the mind going.

Dr. Bhalodkar says people have called him after the meetings and said that they are less depressed and that their blood pressure is down just by talking.

He says they start to feel normal again.

It's a feeling that has been stripped away from people during this pandemic, and something that they want back so desperately.

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