Amid a pandemic that has gone on for almost two years, seniors continue to face loneliness and social isolation that can impact their well-being.
Assisted Living Locators, a nationwide senior placement and referral service, is encouraging engaging with older adults to combat those issues and is sharing inspirational stories of how its franchisees are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities during these difficult times.
"Advocating for the senior community is the heart of Assisted Living Locators business," said Angela Olea, RN, Assisted Living Locators CEO. "As an essential service, our franchisees have been on the frontlines during the pandemic and have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to help improve the quality of life of seniors. We hope to educate our communities about aging issues of social isolation and loneliness, and we want to share some of the meaningful ways we are helping."
Seeing the emotional toll COVID-19 has had on senior living residents, Assisted Living Locators Palm Harbor, Fl Owner/Senior Care Advisor Jim Bullock collaborated with KidsAlfresco, an environmental stewardship youth and adult volunteer organization to form the "Birds of Pray" project to help seniors cope with social isolation and depression. Their partnership builds and provides whimsical wild bird feeding stations to Florida assisted living and memory care communities.
"With this bird-watching encounter, we hope to enhance cognition and reduce senior depression during the on-going pandemic," explained Bullock. "Research reveals that assisted living and memory care residents can spend 75 percent of their waking hours indoors and isolated, so connecting with nature is one of the most rewarding things we can do for our seniors to enhance their daily lives."
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, seniors have no resources or families to help them find a senior living community. When Assisted Living Locators Long Island, NY Owner/Senior Care Advisor Mike McClernon sees this situation, he steps in to help the senior make a smooth transition, going well outside his more typical role in matching the senior to the right community.
"I began working with Frank mid-December, when he told me that he needed to move immediately and had no family to help," he explained. "He was living in various mid-range hotels, charges were adding up, and he wanted a permanent, moderately-priced independent living community. I contacted all the area independent living communities and found a single, final discounted unit available. We toured the community together on the 29th and he agreed on the spot to the placement. We then spent a full day going to banks, arranging his finances, and retrieving his long-separated possessions from his storage space. I also bought him apartment basics. On New Year's Eve, he was able to get dinner in his new community, while I moved in his personal items."
McClernon added, "We need to become almost surrogate children for seniors who find themselves without family or hired support. During these difficult times, these seniors need our help."
Assisted Living Locators Southwest Houston, TX Owner/Senior Care Advisor Robert Wolter has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for three years and looks forward to seeing his seniors, having a chat and listening to their life stories on his weekly route. He and his wife, Julie, are also passionate about feeding seniors in their community participating for more than 20 years in a 'Share Your Holidays Food Drive' that collects and distributes frozen turkeys and more than 1,000 bags of food to those in need.
"Local meal delivery and food donation programs are vitally important to supporting our senior neighbors to meet their nutritional needs and combat social isolation," said Wolter. "During this on-going pandemic, there is no more critical time to get involved."
"At Assisted Living Locators taking care of others is who we are," said Olea. "We are committed to making a difference in the communities we serve and inspiring others to make a positive impact on a senior's well-being."
For more information on Assisted Living Locators free senior placement and referral service, call 877-266-7788 or visit www.assistedlivinglocators.com.