- Written by Barbara Bodzin, Executive Director
- Published: 29 May 2020
Now more than ever, LifePath is here to serve. With COVID-19 impacting every person’s life, the landscape of long-term care within our communities has dramatically changed. Those in need of support to maintain their independence are the most vulnerable to this pandemic and LifePath has the resources to respond. Our mission is to enhance well-being, so that elders and persons with disabilities can remain or return to the place they call home, and avoid hospitalizations and nursing facilities whenever possible.
LifePath can provide support through its Phone Pal program where staff and volunteers are available to chat by phone and provide wellness checks.
Funds are available and volunteers are stepping up, wanting to make a difference like never before. LifePath has heard from over 200 individuals, looking for opportunities and a sense of purpose by providing assistance to those most vulnerable. We are able to provide goods and services to attend to Coronavirus related needs thanks to special funding made available through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Meals on Wheels of America, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and generous donors.
LifePath programs and services are in full operation:
- Volunteers are eager to provide grocery shopping, prescription pick up, and delivery.
- Hundreds of face coverings have been made, donated, and distributed to consumers. Other personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, hand sanitizer, face shields, masks, and gowns are available for distribution.
- Caregivers can receive much needed compensation for care they are providing to their loved ones through our Adult Family Care program.
- Trained homemakers, personal care attendants, nurses, and drivers are available to provide safe and protected care through the use of equipment, proper hygiene, and social distancing.
- Meals on Wheels, grab and go meals, boxes of USDA meats and cheese, and grocery cards are available through LifePath and local Councils on Aging.
- Funding support to caregivers and to those facing economic challenges can be accessed to cover food costs, respite care, and other basic necessities.
- Protective services are available to address concerns of abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and situations of self neglect.
Loneliness and isolation, frequently a chronic challenge for older adults, is further magnified during this time when so many are forced into seclusion. Limited contact with others only adds to feelings of vulnerability and anxiety as a result of this isolation. For many who are alone each day, social connectivity is vital to maintain their wellbeing. A call from someone who cares can have tremendous impact and improve a person’s physical and emotional health.
Physical seclusion from neighbors, friends, and family is devastating and can be somewhat remedied through video and telephonic connections. LifePath can provide support through its Phone Pal program where staff and volunteers are available to chat by phone and provide wellness checks. For those interested in video conferencing, we can provide resources for accessing internet connection, purchasing of laptops and tablets, and offer creative ways to make connections with others. Free access to online exercise classes, tai chi, arts and crafts, nutrition, and mental health support is available. Even bingo is available through the internet.
As restrictions are gradually being lifted, many older adults and individuals with disabilities will be reluctant or unable to return to group activities due to their increased vulnerabilities. LifePath will continue to look to find new and creative ways to attend to these ongoing needs, to optimize quality of life, and to provide for the emotional support and physical care needs of those we serve.
This is a challenging and uncertain time yet there is much to be grateful for. The compassion and care within our organization and within our communities is shining through. Call us if you are seeking information, looking for services, needing to learn about resources or financial support, or just wanting to hear a friendly voice.