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Good Shepherd’s dedicated and courageous staff are working around the clock to provide support to seniors and other vulnerable adults during COVID-19

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“We want them to know that they are loved”
Good Shepherd’s dedicated and courageous staff are working around the clock to provide support to seniors and other vulnerable adults during COVID-19

Good Shepherd’s Bishop Tonnos Seniors Apartment building is home to 94 seniors who are currently in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Therapeutic Day Program that over 200 seniors and caregivers in the community participate in has had to temporarily close due to the crisis, causing this vulnerable population to be more isolated than ever before.

“What we are really noticing with these seniors who are facing increased isolation is that they are aging quicker,” says Chris Melata, Program Manager. “We are getting creative finding new ways to support them so they feel less alone.”

The Seniors Program staff are delivering home cooked meals to people living in the building. Last week it was homemade chili and toast with cookies.

One senior living in the building said they were really missing having coffee dates with their friends. The team set the client up with an iPad so they could have a virtual coffee date together. The staff wish they had access to more iPads to help clients connect with friends and family on a regular basis.

A senior recently moved out of the seniors building and is on her way to a long term care facility. Staff who helped packed up some of her personal items also created special mementos for her like a framed picture of her beloved cat that had to go to a foster home, a photo album of happy memories and a photo puzzle

“Some of the seniors don’t have any family, so the PSW’s might be the only human interaction they get in the week,” says Chris. “We want them to know that they are loved.”

Chris is proud of the way her coworkers stepped in to help one senior in particular who suffers from depression and was feeling significantly worse by being isolated during the crisis. This senior has sewing skills so they approached her to see if she’d want to help by making masks for frontline workers. With the help from the Women’s Services and Development teams they were able to give her a pattern and materials to work with.

“She was thrilled to have a way to get involved,” says Chris. “She is very happy to be able to do something to help fight against this virus and we’ve noticed a big improvement in her mood.”

Staff from the Therapeutic Adult Program, known as the SAM Program, are keeping in touch with clients with daily phone calls and delivering activity packages to keep their minds active while at home. They’ve spent time brainstorming with other day programs in the community to figure out creative ways to help seniors through these difficult times.

“Good Shepherd Seniors Program staff rise to the challenges to help keep seniors connected, healthy and safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” says Trish Belardo, Director of Seniors Programs.

“Our dedicated and courageous team of Personal Support Workers are working extra hours during these unprecedented times to provide essential personal support services to seniors and other vulnerable adults living in the community.”

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