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KYC’s Old­er Adult Ser­vices Make Big Impacts

Ken­neth Young Cen­ter’s Old­er Adult and Dis­abil­i­ty ser­vices team proud­ly con­nects over 8,800 old­er adults with the resources that keep them safer and health­i­er each year. Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, we have seen the need for com­mu­ni­ty-based sup­ports for old­er adults grow. Our ded­i­cat­ed staff, kind vol­un­teers, and incred­i­ble sup­port­ers have come togeth­er to ensure that we’ve been able to con­tin­ue serv­ing our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers safe­ly when they’ve need­ed it most. Here, we share just a few of the ways we’ve made an impact in the lives of old­er adults together.

Find­ing Cre­ative, Life-Sav­ing Solutions

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Jody is 72-years-old and for the past sev­en years has lived in end-stage heart fail­ure. Her doc­tors sur­gi­cal­ly implant­ed a heart pump that cir­cu­lates her blood, but it must be recharged night­ly using her home’s elec­tric­i­ty. One night, Jody woke up to her neigh­bors pound­ing on her front door. Dur­ing the night, the elec­tric­i­ty had gone out, and know­ing about Jody’s health con­di­tion, her neigh­bors quick­ly sprang to action, sav­ing her life. Jody has only a few min­utes to plug into her back-up bat­tery at night before the heart pump will turn off. Luck­i­ly, with her neigh­bor­ly sup­port sys­tem, this pow­er out­age wasn’t fatal, but Jody start­ed to wor­ry what would hap­pen if her neigh­bors were also sleep­ing or away or for any rea­son and couldn’t help her. Would a pow­er out­age lit­er­al­ly kill her?

Jody called Ken­neth Young Cen­ter and her Care Coor­di­na­tor Jes­si­ca sprang to action. Jes­si­ca spent hours research­ing devices that would noti­fy Jody in the case of a pow­er out­age so she could take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions. Jes­si­ca con­tact­ed the local fire depart­ment and con­sult­ed with her team­mates, try­ing to find the right solu­tions for this unique sit­u­a­tion. A whole home gen­er­a­tor would cost thou­sands of dol­lars, as would the spe­cial bat­ter­ies Jody would need to have an addi­tion­al back-up at home. Final­ly, Jes­si­ca found a device that could detect if a spe­cif­ic out­let was run­ning low or no elec­tric­i­ty, and made the pur­chase for Jody, who isn’t a reg­u­lar online cus­tomer. Imme­di­ate­ly, Jody had the reas­sur­ance that she could remain inde­pen­dent­ly in her home, even if her pow­er was tem­porar­i­ly lost. She also knows that she has a depend­able and thought­ful sup­port sys­tem in Jes­si­ca, as her needs may change in the future.

Being a Friend: Lend­ing an Ear

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Mon­i­ca is 80 and lives alone in the home she shared with her hus­band Bill before he passed away last year. She receives home deliv­ered meals on Mon­days, Wednes­days, and Fri­days, for which she’s espe­cial­ly grate­ful now that the pan­dem­ic makes her afraid to go to the store. Before the hol­i­days, when her reg­u­lar meal deliv­ery per­son Alli­son stopped by with her meals, Mon­i­ca couldn’t help but share how wor­ried she was that her car need­ed major repairs that she knew would be expen­sive, right before the hol­i­days. Alli­son lis­tened polite­ly, but know­ing that she had oth­er clients’ hot food in the car wait­ing, she empathized with Mon­i­ca and had to excuse her­self to fin­ish her deliv­ery route. But Alli­son couldn’t stop think­ing about Mon­i­ca sit­ting at home wor­ried and with­out a work­ing car in case of an emer­gency, so she dou­bled back to Monica’s house once her deliv­er­ies were com­plet­ed. When Mon­i­ca heard some­one at her door, she was sur­prised to see Alli­son again, and then deeply touched to know her friend had returned to fin­ish their con­ver­sa­tion, espe­cial­ly as Alli­son stood in the cold to talk through Monica’s screen door to remain social­ly dis­tant. Mon­i­ca was so touched that she called her KYC care coor­di­na­tor to share the expe­ri­ence, say­ing it was the best Christ­mas gift she received this year and was its own Christ­mas Miracle.

Stay­ing Housed, Stay­ing Safe

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Hen­ry is 81-years-old and is an opti­mistic gen­tle­man who greets life with a smile and qui­et voice. Sad­ly, a year ago, just before the pan­dem­ic out­break, Hen­ry lost his home and found him­self lit­er­al­ly on the street with no place to turn. Dev­as­tat­ed by this loss and uncer­tain of his future, Hen­ry called his KYC care coor­di­na­tor Lin­da. From the moment she answered the phone, Lin­da could hear in Henry’s voice that some­thing was hor­ri­bly wrong and her heart ached as she heard his sto­ry. She imme­di­ate­ly found Hen­ry a place to stay for the night and got to work find­ing a longer-term solu­tion – and then COVID-19 stopped every­thing. Places were clos­ing and no one knew how to keep one anoth­er safe. Lin­da stayed in con­stant con­tact with Hen­ry, find­ing a motel where he could stay until COVID-19 passed. How long could that be? Two weeks? Maybe a month? To be safe, Lin­da pre-paid for Hen­ry to stay a month, hop­ing to help him save a lit­tle mon­ey for his next apart­ment that they could find togeth­er once it was safe. Home deliv­ered meals would be dropped off at his motel to pro­vide dai­ly nutri­tion and keep him safe­ly away from oth­er people.

As COVID-19 con­tin­ued with­out an end in sight, Hen­ry found a new rou­tine at the motel, watch­ing tele­vi­sion and learn­ing about every­thing that was hap­pen­ing. His men­tal health slow­ly returned to the pos­i­tive Hen­ry that Lin­da had known for years.

When his health start­ed to fail, Hen­ry, Lin­da, and his med­ical team coor­di­nat­ed his tran­si­tion to a short-term reha­bil­i­ta­tion facil­i­ty that could address his med­ical needs, despite lim­it­ed options with many facil­i­ties closed to new patients because of the pan­dem­ic. Once he was ready to be dis­charged, Hen­ry was once again unsure where he’d go and turned to Lin­da. Togeth­er, they dis­cussed his options and Hen­ry con­clud­ed he want­ed to move into a sup­port­ive liv­ing com­mu­ni­ty. Lin­da pre­sent­ed which ones met Henry’s cri­te­ria and coor­di­nat­ed his move to his new home. Hen­ry is now liv­ing where he is warm, safe, has reg­u­lar nutri­tious meals, and his health is being mon­i­tored. I didn’t know where to start” shared Hen­ry. I’d prob­a­bly be liv­ing in my car if it wasn’t for Lin­da and who knows what would have happened!”

Learn More About KYC’s Old­er Adult Services

Learn more about the Old­er Adult ser­vices and pro­grams that KYC has to offer here.

Cel­e­brat­ing 50 Years of Impact

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As part of KYC's 50th anniversary celebration, we're honored to highlight the impacts we've made in our communities together #KYC50For50.

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