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
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
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
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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