Providing care and support for seniors has never been more important, especially as the country attempts to emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
In New Canaan, the nonprofit Staying Put has been adapting its services to meet the demands the pandemic has created for seniors who live in the community and rely on Staying Put for services it has provided since its inception in 2007.
Under the direction of Executive Director Barbara Achenbaum and her staff of volunteers, Staying Put is continuing to provide help to seniors who rely on the organization for transportation, assistance with home needs, technology troubleshooting, staying in touch with family and friends, and coping with mental health issues that are amplified by isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Achenbaum says Staying Put is doing what it can to create activities that fit the new landscape of keeping seniors active and engaged, but also keeps them safe. It’s required creative thinking and new approaches that have evolved ever since COVID-19 gripped the nation in early March.
Staying Put now partners with GetAbout, New Canaan’s own transportation service, to provide safe rides for seniors who need to get to the market, the pharmacy, doctor appointments, or other necessary appointments.
Staying Put’s meal program was sidelined by the pandemic, so volunteers are now making lunches and delivering them to seniors in need. On some days, the lunches include a Zoom conference that gives home-bound seniors the opportunity to interact with other seniors as they enjoy their lunch..
With technical help from the New Canaan Library, Staying Put has discovered that Zoom can be a powerful tool to help seniors remain active. Seniors can participate in virtual classes, exercise programs, or engage in events such as travel vlogs. Zoom has also allowed seniors to stay in touch with their doctors or other medical specialists through tele-health conferences, which in many cases, are now covered under Medicare plans.
Achenbaum is grateful for the support and help her organization has received from the community during the last six months. As a nonprofit, Staying Put relies on the generosity of individuals and its network of organizations to continue to provide services to seniors in New Canaan.
Achenbaum says the beautiful part about working at Staying Put is seeing the generational support from volunteers of every age group. Seeing young and old work together to help the aging members of the community is the best part of her job, Achenbaum says.
For more information on Staying Put and the services it provides, call 203.966.7762 or visit Staying Put online at http://www.stayingputnc.org/.